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UND's Kyley Foster has been on a fast track to pole vault success

UND's Kyley Foster clears the bar in the pole vault at the High Performance Center. The junior will compete in the NCAA West Preliminaries this weekend in Sacramento.1 / 3
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UND junior Kyley Foster clears the bar in the pole vault. Foster, who won the Big Sky title in the pole vault, will compete in the West Preliminaries this weekend.3 / 3

Out of Detroit Lakes High School, Kyley Foster played everything.

She lettered six times in track and field, five times in swimming and diving, four times in basketball and once each in soccer and gymnastics.

In basketball, she set the school's single-game assists record.

In diving, she was a four-time state qualifier.

In soccer, she set the program's single-season scoring record.

"Even my senior year, if people asked me what my favorite sport was, I'd say whatever season I was in," Foster said. "I loved them all."

But Foster thought she had the most college potential in the pole vault. And even though she would have to walk-on to the team as a freshman, the now-junior at UND loved the combination of Fighting Hawks' track and field and the school's aviation prominence.

"Being in multiple sports and (track) events, I was never focused on one event," Foster said. "I did the best I could, but I came to college and really figured out how to pole vault."

This weekend, Foster and nine of her UND teammates will participate in the NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round in Sacramento, Calif.

Joining Foster in Sacramento will be Matt Culhane (discus), Molli Detloff (discus, hammer), Jessica Drady (hammer), Chris Evenson (discus), Destinee Haas (Discus), Nolan Hovland (high jump), Michael Quesenberry (shot put) and Katelyn Weber (shot put).

Foster, the UND record holder in the pole vault, takes a personal-best jump of 13 feet, 9.25 inches into the event.

A champion in the Big Sky Conference, Foster ranks 16th in the West, with the top 12 advancing to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.

"I'm hoping the place takes care of itself if I have a good meet," Foster said. "Everyone there is within inches. It's whoever has a good day. I'm really hoping for a PR, so that would be fabulous. If I PR, there's potential for a top 12."

Foster qualified for the West Preliminary for the first time last year, becoming UND's first pole vaulter to do so in the Division I era.

"Now I know what to expect," she said. "(The meet) can mess with the nerves but hopefully I'm able to get some good jumps."

Foster's college progression has come quick.

"My freshman year was wild," she said. "I PR'ed in every meet in a row for a while, so there was a lot of room for improvement."

Foster credits UND jumps coach Joe Silvers for teaching her the finer points of the pole vault.

"He pretty much broke apart my entire vault and then put it back together," Foster said. "I really started from not many expectations, just pretty much learning how to vault. But with weights and practices, I was faster and stronger ... it was a block-by-block process."

Earlier this year, Foster earned her helicopter pilot's license and is working on becoming a certified flight instructor. Her end goal is flying as a hospital EMS.

Foster can see the common ground in personality between flying a helicopter and pole vaulting.

"You've got to be a little crazy to pole vault, and you've got to be a little crazy to want to fly a helicopter," she said.

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department since 2004. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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