Time and time again, Post-Graduate Sophia Slovenski ’18 has proven herself to be a key member of Girls Track and Field. Slovenski has broken her own school record in the pole vault multiple times this winter, which now stands at 10’6” inches after Saturday’s meet against Phillips Exeter Academy. She has also run dominant performances in the 55 meter hurdles and 4×400 meter relay, and contributed valuable points to the team in the long jump.
Her prowess as a competitor, versatility as an athlete, and presence as a teammate has earned her The Phillipian’s Athlete of the Week.
What do you do in track?
In Toronto, there was a thing called pod meets that my dad invented. It’s where you do three running events, three jumping events, and three throwing events. Here I specialize in pole vault, javelin and hurdles. But [during the] indoor season, I just do pole vault.”
When did you start running?
Third grade. It used to be [that] only fourth grade and above could do track. My dad made a third grade team. My first track meet, however, was when I was four, and the fastest run I’ve ever done was towards my mom because they shot the gun, and I didn’t know what was happening. I was scared of the gun.
What does track mean to you?
It’s my life, it’s such a big part of me. I started pole vaulting in ninth grade. I wouldn’t be me without it. Unlike volleyball, you only play with the ball. But with track, I can throw one day [and] run and jump other days.
How is the track season going for you so far?
It’s been really really good. The first meet of the season, I broke the school record [in pole vault]. It was at Harvard [at the Greater Boston Track Club Invitational]. The school record was [8’7” and] on my first jump, I jumped 9’. As the season progressed, I jumped [10 ‘6”]. My personal best is [11’7”]… I haven’t come close to my personal best yet this season. So, I still have a long way to go.
What motivates you to work hard?
It’s the most fun I ever had in the seconds you are flying. The bigger the pole you get on, the higher you go. My parents are so supportive; my mom is my biggest fan. She has come to all my track meets so far.
How do you feel about the team?
[At] my old school, the track team was me, my sister, and some other guy. So this is a big change. At the end of the warm up, [the Andover track team comes] into a small circle, [does] jumping jacks, and [cheers]. Then the captains give their hype speech. That why I love doing track, the team is so supportive.
What pushes you through the hard times?
From 2015-2016, I had a really big mental block, I jumped [10 feet, 6 inches] in 2015. All I ever saw was me falling. I had to teach myself the basics mentally. In 2015, I won the Ontario Championships (OFSA), but this past year when I went again, I had that mental block. I was on the runway, and I had already messed up my stepping during my final attempt. I was planning to bail, but I thought to myself, “I can’t just bail, this is my last chance!” So I just went for it, and my coach was like, “She took off!” After that attempt, I finally [scaled] the bar and [broke] my mental block.