Senior pole vaulter brings leadership to young team

Brad Frank and Brad Frank

Let’s just say expectations are high.

Senior captain Sabrina Forstein enters her final season with the BG track team coming off of a very successful season last year. She is one of four seniors on the women’s track and field roster.

With few athletes on the team having as much experience as Forstein does, she recognizes the value of her leadership.

“Everything I do, I do to set a really good example,” Forstein said.

And combined with her leadership by example, she hopes she can impact the team to point where it is winning regularly.

“I really want this team to succeed,” Forstein said. “I’ve never been on a winning team, so it’s really important to me.”

Forstein is one of the top returning pole vaulters in the Mid-American Conference.

She won her first individual title at the Toledo Challenge as a sophomore in 2008. Last season she won three pole vaults events and is finish this season with at least a third-place finish in the MAC.

Forstein started the 2010 season well with a second-place finish at the BGSU Challenge on Saturday. Her height of 3.65 meters equaled the height of the first-place finisher, but Forstein was awarded second because she missed more attempts.

“I really wanted first, and I thought I would get it, but I’m not disappointed at all,” she said.

Despite the successful career she is enjoying at BG, there was a time when she didn’t anticipate being a pole vaulter.

But one day in high school, the track coach insisted that she try pole vaulting.

Forstein said she wasn’t great to start, but she reached a point when it just “clicked.” At the end of her high school career, she was a conference and district champion and a regional and state qualifier.

Forstein struggled slightly in the early portion of her BG career but has gotten to the point where she is a top contender in every meet. While in college, she has consistently been able to vault close to 12 feet, an improvement of about one foot from how high she regularly vaulted in high school, which Forstein said is quite an improvement for a pole vaulter.

She is hoping to add to her list of individual titles this season in her final year and possibly aim at the record books.

Her career high is 3.7 meters, set at the 2009 MAC Championships. BG’s indoor pole vault record is 3.74 meters. The outdoor record is 3.81 meters.

BG coach Cami Wells understands the importance of having athletes like Forstein on teams. The impact Forstein has made on the program is something Wells values quite a bit.

“She’s very focused on making sure she can get the very most she can out of her career here,” Wells said. “Her mental toughness and what she brings to the program as far as her ability to lead by example and continue to build on what she did the previous year … she’s really done a nice job accomplishing that.”

Wells, like Forstein, has high expectations for what she can do this season.

“With her experience and the way she’s able to keep herself composed during meets, she’s proven that she can perform under pressure,” Wells said. “We’re looking for big things from her this season.”

Sports carries over to Forstein’s academic career. She came to BG with the intention of majoring in athletic training.

But she was told that she would have to change her major because the number of clinical hours required for athletic training combined with the academic workload and time commitment to track and field would be too much. So she switched her major to exercise science.

Forstein will graduate after this semester and plans to attend graduate school this fall. She is unsure which school she will attend, and is looking to become a graduate assistant for track and field.

Forstein said that she has an invitation to join the BG coaching staff as the pole vault instructor, but no final decision has been made.

Forstein will seek her first individual title Friday at the Jane Hermann Invitational, as BG takes on Dayton, Youngstown State and IPFW beginning at 5 p.m. inside Perry Field House.