Berkshire senior Dana Shale on Tuesday announced her intention to continue her education and track career at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.
Shale will compete in the pole vault in college but her future wasn’t always this clear.
“I was a gymnast for 10-plus years before I started to pole vault and decided it was time to let go of gymnastics and try something new,” Shale said. “Since pole vault requires so much upper body strength, I knew I would strive in the event due to the fact of me having a lot of upper body strength.”
She quickly developed into one of the area’s top vaulters and punched her ticket to the 2019 Division III regional track meet.
Shale hoped to take the next step and qualify for the state meet as a junior but COVID forced the cancellation of spring sports.
The shutdown prevented Shale from competing but she still found a way to train and she joined the Berkshire cross country team this fall to better condition her body for her final season this spring.
“With Covid-19 shutting down many athletic facilities and cancelling my all-important junior spring season, I knew I had to find a way to keep training in order to get the height I needed for the college level,” Shale said. “Pole vault is a difficult thing to train for without facilities. I joined cross country to keep in shape and found an awesome Olympic trainer, whom I’ve been doing training with since June.”
Shale’s early success in vaulting led to her opportunity at Slippery Rock and she jumped at the chance to continue in the sport at the college level.
“It’s beyond exciting to have the opportunity to compete in college while receiving my education,” she said. “Being able to vault at the college level makes me really happy since I’ve been working so hard since my freshman year.”
There was a lot to like at Slippery Rock and Shale now is eager to begin her college career, both in the classroom and on the track.
“The campus and community being so safe and so beautiful along with having everything I needed and wanted in my major is what led me to Slippery Rock,” she said. “The environment is so friendly and I knew from the start I’ll be able to succeed in the classroom and on the vault runway.”
Before she heads to Slippery Rock, Shale, who plans to major in exercise science to become an Occupational or Physical Therapist, has some unfinished business with the Badgers.
“I have three main goals for my season,” Shale said. “I hope we are able to have a season so I can exceed my personal best of nine feet. My other goal is to clear 11-feet, 6-inches to 12 feet. I’ve been practicing three days a week and I’ve been clearing amazing heights from my five-step approach. Lastly, qualifying to state for indoor and outdoor would be absolutely amazing and perfect.”