Although she just started competing in the sport two years ago, Solanco High School freshman Katie Urbine is expected to make an immediate impact on the Mules' track and field squad this spring.
Urbine is already enjoying success on the indoor track circuit and has earned a spot in two prestigious events.
She ran a time of 8.02 seconds to qualify for freshman nationals in the 60 meter dash, which will be held at the Armory in New York City on March 15.
On June 13, Urbine will compete in the freshman national pole vault event in Greensboro, N.C. She set a personal best of 10 feet, three inches at an indoor meet February 8.
According to Milesplit, Urbine was ranked first in the state among freshmen in the 60 meter dash and the third ranked ninth grader in the pole vault. She finished 20th in the 60 meter dash at the state meet Saturday.
Urbine didn't begin pole vaulting until June but took to it quickly. "I was really surprised," she said. "I didn't expect to be that good. I just wanted to try something new and it's been really fun."
Urbine has been working with Scott Aspril, a Solanco volunteer coach, and training at Philly Jumps Club in Conshohocken under the direction of coach Brian Mondschein.
"Katie's got a lot of potential," said Jen McDowell, a former Solanco Junior High track and field coach who is now in charge of the Mules' varsity squad. "She's a gymnast and she's run for me for the last two years in Junior High. She won the 100 meters at our end of the year meet last year at Hempfield. She also placed in the 200 and has been my top sprinter the last two years, even as a seventh grader. She started showing interest in pole vaulting and has been working on it last summer and fall with the Philly Jumps Club and has also worked with Matt Concannon, a former Solanco student-athlete, at Vault Works."
Urbine started competing on the track as a seventh grader. "I was always fast," she said. "When I was little I'd always run around and I knew I was fast and I enjoyed running. I decided I wanted to try a school sport since I had never done one before and I thought it would be fun to try. Turns out, I was pretty good."
Urbine is also a Level 9 Junior Olympic gymnast under coach Bill Roth at Roth's Crosspoint Gymnastics in Aston. She has qualified for the state competition to be held March 28 in Pittsburgh.
Urbine attends Solanco High in the morning then takes three online classes through the Solanco Virtual Academy. "I need time to rest in between my day," Urbine said. "And it's been helpful for track because I can take private lessons for pole vaulting."
The Junior National Honor Society member attends both gymnastics training and private pole vault lessons on Tuesdays and one or the other the remaining days.
Urbine has her sights set on two Solanco school records. "I really want to break the pole vaulting record (11 feet)," she said. "I'm really hoping to beat the record in the 100, too. That would be cool."
McDowell expects Urbine to continue to develop on the track and in the pole vault. "She's been improving every meet since she started," the Solanco coach said.