Mount Zion senior pole vaulter Roxie Carberry (left) talks with coach Jason Battles after winning last week's event at the Clayton County Championships. She is the two-time county champion. (Photo by Derrick Mahone)
By Derrick Mahone
Mount Zion senior Roxie Carberry has known the feeling of not fitting in on a track team.
She was not fast enough to be a sprinter, and her endurance was not conducive to be a distance runner. Carberry wasn't strong enough for the throws and the jumps didn't fit her either.
Yet, she still wanted to be a contributor on the track and field team.
Mount Zion coach Jason Battles finally introduced the then-sophomore to the pole vault event. After learning the techniques and overcoming her fears, Carberry is now a valuable contributor to the Lady Bulldogs team.
"I wanted to do something to help my team, and I found it with the pole vault," Carberry said.
Last week, she won her second county championship by going 8-feet, seven inches, but missed her goal of clearing nine feet. She said clearing that mark will enhance her chances of getting a scholarship to Norfolk State, where she has already gained admission with her 3.7 grade-point average.
"I have a few more meets to get it," Carberry said. "I really want to do well at state. My goal is to place."
Carberry is keeping a busy schedule this spring. In addition to competing, she is a mentor to freshman Alexis Warren. Like Carberry, Warren was trying to find her niche on the team after trying the running events.
"I just told her that I was going to make her a pole vaulter," Carberry said. "She can take my place once I graduate."
Working with Warren, who also competes in cross country and volleyball, has sparked Carberry interest into becoming a coach.
She is trying to decide between becoming an engineer or entering the education field.
"Working with Alexis has been gratifying," Carberry said. "She was just like me in trying to find something to do in track. I'm happy I'm able to give something back. I've already told my niece that she is going to be a pole vaulter."
With her drive and determination, Carberry seems destined for success on and off the track.
In addition to her studies, she works part-time at a local Kroger and trains for the pole vault. On the weekends, she works with Fairbanks when she is not in high school competition.
"I stay busy, and it can be tough at times," she admits.
Seeing her prosper from a novice into a state qualifier has been gratifying to Battles.
"Roxie has been a positive influence on the team," he said. "She really found something that has suited her and made her a part of the team. As a coach, you are always pleased to see an athlete become the best that they can be. She works hard at the pole vault."
While winning and competing at her best is what Carberry strives for, she also gets satisfaction out of working with Warren, who was runner-up at the county meet. Carberry is hopeful that both can compete together at the state meet next month in Albany.
Warren said she is thrived that Carberry has taken the time to encourage and work with her.
"As a freshman, you really don't get the attention from seniors," Warren said. "She has been great. I'm just pleased that she takes up her time with me."