Tupelo Golden Wave’s Watson vaults onto Rebels’ track squad

Tupelo pole vaulter Callie Watson signed with Ole Miss after attending a camp there last week.  (Lauren Wood)

Tupelo pole vaulter Callie Watson signed with Ole Miss after attending a camp there last week. (Lauren Wood)

By GENE PHELPS
Daily Journal

Pole vaulter Callie Watson doesn’t think she’s crazy, just competitive.

“I’m sure some people would call me crazy,” she said. “I just like to have fun. My nature is to be competitive. I try my best to take something on.

“… Crazy? Not really.”

The former Tupelo High School track and field athlete signed a national letter of intent last week to pole vault for Ole Miss.

She attended track and field camp at Ole Miss and had an opportunity to work with the Rebels’ Sam Kendricks, who recently won the World University Games pole vault competition in Kazan, Russia. The former Oxford High School vaulter also won the 2013 NCAA championship.

“I feel blessed; this is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Watson said. “It’s a great feeling to know that all my hard work has paid off.

“I’m excited to get over there and start training.”

Watson tied for second this spring in the MHSAA Class 6A state track and field championships with a vault of 11-feet. Her best vault was an 11-9 in practice.

“In college they go by meters, but I think the opening height in the SEC is 12 feet,” she said. “I have to improve to even make the opening height.

“The coaches expect big things out of me and the other recruits. I know once I get over there and start training, I can do a lot better.”

Watson, who joined the THS cross country team as a sophomore, was talked into pole vaulting by Golden Wave assistant coach Scott Brown.

“I tried it and I loved it,” she said. “It’s a lot of technique and a lot of sprint training. You improve an inch at a time. It takes a lot of work, but once you get there, it’s definitely worth it.”

There’s also an element of danger.

“You have to trust in your ability,” Watson said. “Once you start the vault, you have to be committed.”

gene.phelps@journalinc.com