ST. JOHN | It takes some pressing, but once Brooke Lambert opens up she'll admit that the only way she wants to see her final high school season end is with a state pole vault championship.
The Lake Central senior went into last year's state meet as top qualifier, but things fell apart and she didn't record a height.
"At that point in my life, I had a lot going on and I was emotionally drained. My head wasn't in it," Lambert said. "There was too much pressure and too many things that shouldn't have been going through my head. It was just all messed up."
Fortunately for her, Lambert has a second chance and she's hungry for redemption.
"It was my fault. I wasn't prepared mentally or emotionally," Lambert said. "I will never let something like that happen to me again. I will jump like it's my last jump every single time."
"I don't know how anyone could ever totally leave something like that behind," coach Ron Fredrick said. "I think Brooke has taken that and turned it into a positive."
Pole vault has become a major strength for the Indians recently, thanks largely to Lambert and senior vaulters Kaitlyn Moricz and Katie Brown. At meets, those points are expected to go to L.C.
Lambert and Fredrick both credit vaulting coach Tom McCabe with that success.
"It's been great to be able to carry on that legacy. It's definitely been built up in the four years I've been here," Lambert said. "We've had a nice stream of talent coming in."
Lambert said she started vaulting at the suggestion of a freshman swim coach after she did more push ups than anyone in her class.
"I loved it right way. It's such an interesting concept and there's always so much to learn," she said. "Your love for it only grows. It's addicting."
Fredrick remembers thinking of Lambert as a runner who vaulted, and not the other way around, early in her freshman year. She once won the 200 at a meet and immediately walked over and won the pole vault.
"I remember walking up to her after that and saying 'You know, Brooke, you're a stud. You're going to have a good career,'" Fredrick said. "Right off the bat she was able to do several things to help the team and that's never changed."
Lambert has already signed a letter of intent to vault for the University of Michigan, where she will study kinesiology.