Award-winning University of La Verne pole vaulter and senior communications major Chelsea Sherier was recently named NCAA Division III Indoor West Regional Female Field Athlete of the Year for the 2007 season. In addition to her athletic recognition, Sherier also enjoys working behind the scenes in television production and spent last summer interning at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
Recently, we caught up with one of the best track and field athletes in Division III, Chelsea Sherier. I talked to Sherier, a native of Milwaukie, Ore., about her accomplishments at ULV, what it is like to be a pole vaulter, and her future career goals in the television industry.
Galo Pesantes: So far, how is track season going for you? Are you competing as well as you like, or do you think you still need to step it up heading into the second part of the season?
Chelsea Sherier: You always want to do better. It could be better. I’ve had a knee injury which has been holding me back. I’m seeing the trainers so I can be able to reach my peak level before the end of the season.
GP: You’re a two time All-American and recently you were named Indoor West Region Field Athlete of the Year. How do you feel after earning so many accolades while at La Verne?
CS: It’s awesome. It feels great. It makes me just want to go out there and keep doing my best and hopefully get an All-American and place high at Nationals this year.
GP: What kind of approach do you take in training and becoming one of the best track and field athletes in Division III?
CS: This season I started training way before the season started in September. I’ve been out there training and working for a long time before the season even starts. I’ve been doing everything I can to make it all come together before the end of the season.
GP: You’re graduating this year, so this is your final season at ULV. How would you like to finish the season, as far as goals or accomplishments for yourself?
CS: I want to have my best season yet. It’s my senior year, so I want to do my best. I want to make All-American at Nationals. This is the last season I will ever pole vault, so it is kind of sad.
GP: Pole vaulting is quite a complex sport. How difficult is it to set aside time to keep up your specialized training technique?
CS: Pole vault is a very technique-specific sport, so there are a lot of little technique things (to do). You have to work to perfect them and there are a lot of drills you can do to work on it. I kind of look at what I needed to work on from last season and bring into this season, so I’m always working on those.
GP: You recently earned an NCAA provisional mark in the pole vault while competing in Arizona. How does it feel to be representing your school at the NCAA Championships in May?
CS: It feels great. It’s a really fun trip. I’ve done it the last two years. A few of us from the team usually make it. It’s at the end of the season, so it’s the last big meet. And I had a personal record at it last season. By that I mean I did the best I’ve ever done, basically. So hopefully that will happen again this year.
GP: You’re a native of Milwaukie, Ore. What was the biggest draw for you to come down from the Pacific Northwest to La Verne?
CS: Mainly my major, because I am a television broadcast major. Anything television is in Southern California, and this is where I wanted to be. Plus the weather is great. I love the weather here.
GP: Do you have big fan support back at home, and do any of your family or friends travel to go see you compete?
CS: Not really; it’s kind of hard. My parents are going to drive down to Fresno for the weekend to the state meet I qualified for. They came to watch one meet last year and they usually try to make it to one meet a year, so it’s cool. I mean even though they are in Oregon, they are still very supportive of me.
GP: The women’s track and field team has been near the top of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in the last couple seasons. What do you and the rest of the team need to do keep that trend going?
CS: We just need to keep practicing hard before the season ends and stay healthy. Our team struggles with that from time to time, but that’s inevitable.
GP: You’re close with fellow pole vaulters, senior Veronica Andrews and junior Katrina McCoy. How strong is the camaraderie with not only the women’s team, but the men’s team as well?
CS: It’s hard with track. The events are different, and the practices are at different times, so it’s hard to bond as a team, I think. I mean there are definitely some close connections. Katrina and I are really close, and the same with Veronica. We always hang out outside of track. And the meets are all day long, so you don’t always see everyone do every event, so you’re not always there for everything.
GP: Before you started competing in track, what other sports would you compete in and what was it about track that made it your No.1 sport?
CS: I used to be a gymnast, so I liked the “Magnificent Seven,” the U.S. Olympic gymnastic team that won the gold in 1996. I did competitive gymnastics for a couple years. Then I was getting kind of old and tall for the sport, so I wanted to do a high school sport, but I have never played a team sport so I didn’t think I couldn’t jump into a team sport while everyone had been playing for years. So I tried track my sophomore year in high school and it turned out to be a good thing. But I heard gymnasts made good pole vaulters, so it’s worked out for me.
GP: At what point in high school did you figure out, “This sport is for me and I’m pretty good at this?”
CS: It’s funny. The first day I tried pole vault, the coach was like, “You are going to break the school record.” He told me that the very first day of practice. I didn’t really believe him then, but I was like, “Cool.” The record was only like 8 feet, so I think I broke it my second or third meet.
GP: You’re a television broadcasting major. What made you interested in getting into the television industry?
CS: I got started with still photography. Then I got into video, which I liked even more. I just liked telling visual stories, and I want to get into news or some kind of television documentary stuff, not in front of the camera but behind the scenes because I like all the technical aspects of it.
GP: You were also an intern for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and currently a producer for Chino Community Television. What was it like working for these stations as a college student?
CS: Ellen was cool, a very down to earth person. She was always cracking jokes, so she was cool. It was a really good, eye-opening experience to see how the industry works from the inside out. I saw a lot of celebrities, but you can’t get too starstruck. It was very busy, very fast paced. I worked with the production assistants but so much is expected of them. And that is how the business works, it’s weird. It’s so competitive. At Chino Community Television, I broadcast live city council meetings and shoot video in promoting city events.
GP: Are you still going to try to be active with track and field once the season is done, or are you going to be focused on your career?
CS: I still want to be active as a far as going to the gym. But, I’m not really going to be pole vaulting anymore. I just probably will not have the time for it anymore.
GP: You’re 21 years old. What are you looking forward to in the future past ULV?
CS: I am looking forward past whatever graduation holds for me. The next step in my life is looking for a job. It’s hard to concentrate on the future with graduation coming up.
Galo Pesantes can be reached at email@example.com.