Q&A with Track and Field Freshman Britany Parker

Jan. 23, 2007


Recently, freshman track and field pole vaulter Britany Parker sat down with the media relations staff to discuss the ongoing indoor season. A heralded recruit in the pole vault, Parker participated in the 2006 World Outdoor Championships in Beijing, China, and has already made her mark on the Kansas squad, breaking two facility records and currently ranks second in the Big 12 in the women’s pole vault.

Q: What drew you to the pole vault?
A: I started in middle school and it was a new sport in Texas. Our team was looking for some girls to try it and they told me I looked athletic. The next thing I knew, the coach told me to grab a stick, run down the runway and stick it in the little box. I did that and I have been hooked ever since.

Q: What do you enjoy about the pole vault?
A: I like the challenge. It is such a technical sport, that’s it is different everyday. There are so many variables that go into it and I think I just enjoy the challenge of trying something new everyday.

Q: What are your thoughts on college competition thus far?
A: At first, it was somewhat intimidating. I competed at a few national meets last year, so I was used to competition with other girls jumping over 13 feet. But in the college realm, there are just so many more girls that do that. Hopefully if I keep level headed and work on what I can do, the competition will be there and hopefully I can compete with them.

Q: How have your teammates helped you so far?
A: I think the both pole vaulting teams have a lot of talent, especially with Kate Sultanova and a few of the older girls. They have a lot of experience and great leadership skills. Overall, I think we mesh really well and push each other every day.

Q: How did it feel to set a new facility record at the Jayhawk Invitational?
A: Well, it was eventually broken by Kate, but it was exciting. It is an honor just for me to go out and put on the Kansas uniform and compete for a school that has such great tradition in pole vault. To break the record, that was an awesome feeling for me. I congratulate Kate and just want to keep going and jump higher.

Q: How did you decide on attending Kansas?
A: Coach Tom Hays is a phenomenal coach and he has a lot of history with getting girls to jump very high. That is my goal. I also wanted to get a great education and Kansas offers that.

Q: What are your thoughts on Coach Hays so far?
A: He is really laid back, which I am enjoying. There are still a lot of things he has to learn about me and I have to learn about him, but I think we’re a good match right now. I am enjoying it.

Q: Can you talk about your experience at the World Championships in Beijing?
A: That was interesting. It was amazing to put on the USA uniform and be on a team like that. It is an amazing accomplishment for me and I am really proud. The actual trip to China was definitely an experience in itself. It is a whole different culture that I am not used to. It is nice to travel and see new places. As far as the competition went, I would have liked to have performed better, but if I ever have another chance like that, I hope to perform better.

Q: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
A: I just want to keep inching my way up with my heights. I’ve done that the past few meets. Other than that, I just want to keep getting stronger and faster. There are a lot of technical aspects to my jump that I am working on with Coach Hays and to get a few of those things figured out would be a great accomplishment.