Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Warhawk jumps to new record

Gracie Holland sets program’s best Pole Vault Record
Katie McIlheran
UW-Whitewater women’s track and field pole vaulter gets ready to pole vault at the Midwest Elite meet in the Kachel Fieldhouse Feb. 10 2024.


The Midwest Elite Invitational saw 13 teams gather together Feb. 10 at the UW-Whitewater for a track and field competition that ended up being one of the best meets of the weekend across the NCAA Division III landscape. The women’s team finished with 35 points, ultimately putting them in the fifth spot out of all 13 teams. But, the most memorable event of the meet was junior Warhawk Gracie Holland, setting not only a personal best and program best but a Division III leading pole vault score. 

Every millimeter of Holland’s 4.08 meters was needed because the second place finisher, Yasmin Ruff from Washington University in St. Louis (WashU), scored a mark of 4.03, which also ranks high across DIII. 

“I haven’t PR’d [personal record] in almost a year, so [to do it] on home turf when it mattered meant a lot to me,” Holland said after the event. 

Hitting a personal record is an individual accomplishment, but Holland recognized a few people in her life who helped her to be the best version of herself. One of them was teammate and fellow pole vault jumper Ella Maher. 

When talking about Maher, Holland said, “She pushes me every day. Physically and mentally. She’s my ride-or-die teammate.”

Maher finished sixth in the event with a score of 3.38 meters, just ahead of sophomore Warhawk Zoe Jenks-Recker who finished eighth. 

“She’s one of our captains so she’s viewed as a great leader,” head coach Mike Johnson said. “She’s got the most calm, pleasant demeanor… the minute it’s time to put your game face on, she’s the fiercest competition.”

Holland came close to breaking the facility record, which was set by a Division I athlete. 

Warhawk sprinter Tina Shelton also had a good outing and finished with the second-best mark in the 60m final with a time of 7.58 seconds. The time is good for the second-best in DIII. In the same event, Lauren Jarrett of the UW-La Crosse Eagles set the best time in DIII currently with 7.49. Shelton is coming off injury with this week being her first back.

“She looked great; she wasn’t forcing things through. So I was happy to see her get through it. Now it’s about getting back in the grove and getting the routing going,” Johnson said.

The La Crosse Eagles finished first on both men’s and women’s sides. The women’s team scored 173 points. La Crosse will be the location for the Warhawks’ next meet which takes place Feb 16. This will be the last meet of the indoor track season before the WIAC Indoor Championships, which will be held in Whitewater Feb. 23.

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Katie McIlheran, Lead Photographer

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