Athlete of the Week: Madeline Obuchowski


Ashley Hawkins

Senior Madeline Obuchowski’s advice for those who are participating in track this year is, “Oregon weather sucks sometimes, but you can’t get discouraged by the rain because you can have rainy practices or rainy meets,” she said. “ But ultimately you will have those sunny days and they do pay off.”

Rita Tran, Staff Reporter

Senior Madeline Obuchowski has been a pole vaulter and hurdler for the past four years, practicing with the La Salle track and field team as well as her club team, Willamette Striders Track Club, year round. 

Obuchowski was a gymnast for 10 years before she switched to track and field in seventh and eighth grade, participating in running and high jump events. During her freshman year, she wanted to try out pole vaulting because she saw that some of her old gymnastics teammates were doing it as well, and she started to really enjoy it. 

“There is kind of like a natural transition from gymnastics to pole vault,” Obuchowski said. “A lot of the techniques and skills can sort of transfer over.”

Almost every school day, Obuchowski goes to practice for two hours and also does conditioning and lifting, focusing on speed, body mechanics, strength, endurance, and technique. 

Due to the intense training each day, it is sometimes difficult to balance out time for both school and training. “I have to really manage my time and plan it out, or else I get overwhelmed,” Obuchowski said.

She also finds it hard sometimes to maintain her social life because she does not always have time to hang out with her friends with practice and school work. “I find myself picking and choosing,” Obuchowski said.

For Obuchowski, the biggest pro about pole vaulting is that she finds it very therapeutic for herself. “I can just forget about all of my school stresses and just run with a stick and try to get as high in the air as I can,” Obuchowski said. 

She is able to overcome all of those challenges because of all of the people on her team, especially her pole vault club team, who support her and are very close to her, which is her favorite thing about the sport. Obuchowski is able to bond with everyone on her club team whenever she travels and attends meets with them. 

Similarly, Obuchowski’s favorite part of La Salle’s track and field team is also the people and the team as a whole. “ I get to meet people that I don’t normally get a chance to talk to during school, and I get a chance to hang out with some of my best friends at track,” Obuchowski said.

As a senior now, Obuchowski feels as if she has been able to change her mindset when she competes and practices. 

“I try not to get stuck on the little things,” Obuchowski said. “Maybe I didn’t do my best at a meet, but I try to look at all the good things that I did do, so I try to not put myself down for the things I didn’t do well on and not let them weigh me down.”

The people that inspire Obuchowski the most to keep on trying and to work harder are her parents who work hard themselves. They push her to always strive to get better and to not give up. 

Obuchowski is also influenced by many Olympic pole vaulters such as Katie Moon and Armand Duplantis who show her that there is more in store for her. “Just seeing her progression from high school, like how she jumped 11 or 13 [feet] in high school, so I can do that too,” Obuchowski said.

Pole vaulting and track and field has influenced Obuchowski to be more accountable and to take care of herself more. It has taught her how to be on task and how to be good at time management. “I think that track teaches me how to be a leader and how to be a supportive teammate and a supportive person in general,” Obuchowski said.

In the future, Obuchowski wants to be able to continue pole vaulting in college. Her goal for herself for the season is to reach 12 feet, because once she hits that goal, it would secure her a D1 spot at the colleges she is looking at. 

“I’m really looking forward to improving my mark so that I can be more confident and be able to jump at the collegiate level,” Obuchowski said. 

Even with the excitement of the chance of competing at the collegiate level, Obuchowski continues to reminisce on her past years and relationships that she will be leaving behind once she graduates. 

“I am going to miss all of the people because I’ve felt really strong relationships with the people I do track with,” Obuchowski said. “They are my really, really close friends, so it’ll be sad.”