Testa uses father’s words of wisdom literally as SU pole vaulter

first_img Comments Published on April 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_iseman ‘I’m happy I’m doing well, but it should’ve come sooner,’ she said. ‘I still want to jump a foot or two higher before I graduate.’ But despite the struggles and frustration, Testa knew she’d have to weather the storm and keep working on her technique. Once Testa, a Rochester, N.Y., native, arrived as a freshman, she expected to do well right away. She quickly found out that wouldn’t be the case. She encountered setbacks that she would have to overcome if she wanted to be successful for the Orange. Those setbacks continued as a sophomore. For the Orange, it’s a good thing she returned.  Eventually, she was able to make those adjustments. But it took a lot of  time and a lot of patience. Since she started with the Orange, her coach said she has gotten both stronger and faster. But her biggest improvement has been her confidence. Now Testa doesn’t think about not being able to make a certain height. When it comes to what she could do during competitions, what used to be ‘if’ has become ‘when,’ her mother says. As she struggled during her first two years, her confidence level fell more and more. Although she wasn’t getting the results she wanted, she never considered leaving the team. Testa, a pole-vaulter for the Orange track and field team, has endured a transition period from high school to the collegiate ranks on the field. After struggling to adjust to the competition level during her first two years on campus, Testa has become an integral part of an emerging Syracuse track and field team as a junior. Growing up, Leah Testa would always be reminded of one thing by her father, John: ‘The sky is the limit.’ That one short but meaningful phrase served as a form of motivation to keep trying to improve as a pole-vaulter. Following a decorated high school career where she competed at the state championships four times, Testa found herself having to go back to the basics of pole-vaulting. In addition to facing a higher level of competition, Testa also had to adjust to a new brand of coaching at the Division I level.  ‘I give her credit for sticking through it,’ SU’s assistant coach Enoch Borozinski said. ‘There were times where I thought I might not see her the next year.’ ‘Her recent improvements have just been about her having a little bit of confidence in herself as a pole-vaulter and bringing it to the competitions,’ Borozinski said. Her path to becoming a champion pole-vaulter for the Orange didn’t come easy. It required improvements not only to her technique, but also her mindset. [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ At her second meet of the year, the Syracuse Welcome Back Invitational, she was the women’s champion — jumping 3.4 meters. A few meets later, she was also the women’s champion at the Syracuse Invitational with a jump of 3.6 meters. ‘It isn’t ‘if I do better,” Sandy said, ‘now it’s ‘when I hit that mark.” Which is good for Testa because she still isn’t completely satisfied. After all, she’s still reminded of those words she grew up hearing from her father. Though Testa overcame the struggles she faced during her first couple of years, she’s not quite where she hopes to be by the time she’s finished. Instead, she still believes she could be even better with some small technical adjustments.  But there were times when her coach wasn’t so sure.  ‘Growing up, she was always hearing that positive reinforcement,’ said Leah’s mother, Sandy Testa. ‘(Her father) is a very positive person and has tried to instill that in her.’ ‘I was really bummed last year, but I never considered just stopping because I’ve done it for so long,’ Testa said. ‘I wouldn’t know what else to do.’ It was as if her father knew exactly what was to come. last_img

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