Dan Pavlik, Campus Carrier Asst Sports Editor
|PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY LIZA LASELVA|
Freshman Liza LaSelva pole vaults over the bar at an indoor track and field meet at Sewanee on Feb. 11. LaSelva tied Berry’s overall record for the pole vault and is looking to soar higher. The Vikings head to Birmingham Southern on Saturday.
Liza LaSelva is only a freshman, but she’s already marked her spot in the record books for the Track and Field team.
Setting a personal record and tying a school record of 10’6” on the pole vault, LaSelva has been making her presence known from the get go.
“I wasn’t quite sure how I would do because I haven’t vaulted in a meet since high school championships last May,” LaSelva said. “Of course there was room for improvement, but I was happy with the way I performed.”
A Woodstock, Ga. native, LaSelva graduated Sequoyah High School in 2016 with a 4.0 GPA and a varsity letter in track and field.
Realizing junior year that she could not keep up with the long hours it took to be a gymnast, LaSelva had to look for another sport that would satisfy her interest.
“I wanted to do something that resembled gymnastics,” LaSelva said. “A physical activity that would still encompass flying through the air and doing some acrobatic movements. So I turned to pole vaulting.”
Learning a new sport after years of gymnastics wasn’t the easiest thing for LaSelva.
Though similar, pole vaulting presented LaSelva with new unique challenges.
“The very first time I tried to pole vault, I missed the spot where the pole was supposed to go and fell flat on my face,” LaSelva said. “So it was tough in the beginning. I had to learn a lot of technique and fundamental basics that many of my teammates already knew.”
Even so, she overcame obstacles and stuck with pole vaulting to find that she had a passion for the sport.
“Vaulting was something new and challenging,” LaSelva said. “I had great people around me. All those things together were the reason I fell in love with it.”
LaSelva loved it so much, in fact, that she decided to continue her pole vaulting career into college. As to where, that was the big question.
“I was looking at other D3 schools in the SAA,” LaSelva said. “None of them appealed to me on an athletic and academic level that Berry did. The campus is so pretty on top of the grade-A facilities and academics. It was an easy choice.”
The switch from high school athletics to college athletics is a big step. Many times, the work load of a school like Berry on top of being a varsity athlete can be too much.
For LaSelva, a hectic and full schedule is all she has known. Playing the violin and the piano on top of being a scholar athlete began at a young age, and has stuck with her since.
“My parents have kept me busy,” LaSelva said. “I was always doing more than one thing at a time and it really helped me with my time management skills.”
LaSelva spends the free time she has at Barnwell Chapel, playing the piano.
“At first playing the piano was a chore,” LaSelva said. “But now it’s a get-away from all the sports and homework I have. I really enjoy playing.”
LaSelva and the track team travel to Birmingham Southern on Saturday for the BSC Southern Invitational.