TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — For Maclay's Sarah Caulley Soto, her success in the pole vault goes back to a lot of time spent, a lot of hard work, and a little bit of chance. Those are all things she hopes leads her to a strong finish in these final weeks of her senior season.
"I started track in sixth grade because I wanted to do a sport," reflected Soto. "I thought track would be an easy one to get in to."
It's turned into a full blown passion for pole vaulting for Soto.
"It's kind of a combination of me wanting to try out everything and my mom telling me about pole vault."
Soto just so happens to be pretty good at it too. Coming off a 3rd place finish at state as a junior, she's breaking her own marks every meet heading into the final weeks of her senior season.
"She is a beautiful jumper, she really is," said head track and field coach Angie Milford. "Pole vault is tough because you don't see huge improvements. She has really worked hard this year and worked on everything, and it's paying off."
"This year something just clicked when I was in practice," added Soto. "I was able to start getting that technique a little bit better and a little bit cleaner and it's helped tremendously."
Others have taken notice too, as Soto will jump for Johns Hopkins in college.
"After state last year I told my mom I did want to jump in college and I did think I could have a good collegiate career."
It's not just her athletic abilities that got her there. She has a 4.35 GPA.
"She's just an amazing young lady," said Milford. "Yes academics, but she's amazing at art too. She's been recognized for that. She's so well rounded in every way."
Hopefully a state title awaits to round out that resume.
"Everything I've worked for the whole season has come up to these next three meets," said Soto.
"Pressure is a privilege," said Milford. "She's put it in, so I hope it does pay off for her."
A pay off fueled by hard work, and a good decision in the sixth grade. Soto's journey to a state title began with a second place finish at districts. Regionals are in two weeks. Soto said she plans to study to one day practice reconstructive plastic surgery.