LEAGUE CITY, Texas (BVM) — Olivia Lueking will be remembered as one of the most successful athletes at Clear Creek High School and in Texas state history. The 2021 season was one for the record books. Lueking dominated her competition in the pole vault, setting an in-season all–time Texas state record of 14 feet, 3 inches, which at the time was No. 1 in Texas and No. 4 in the United States. On top of her domination in the pole vault, Lueking also qualified for state in the 300-meter hurdles, finishing fifth with a time of 43.25.
Lueking has always been a high flyer. Prior to her start in track and field, she was a gymnast for ten years which she attributes to some of her success in the pole vault.
“In pole vault there is a lot of air awareness and body awareness that you have to have and gymnastics definitely helped with that,” Lueking said.
After a trip to state her sophomore season and a conversation with her dad, Lueking knew she was good enough to compete at the next level and therefore had to start taking pole vaulting more seriously. After that season, Lueking began to invest her time and energy into strength and agility training in order to progress her talent even further.
Lueking is no stranger to the challenges brought upon her from track and field and specifically pole vaulting.
“When I first started, honestly, I wanted to quit because I was really bad in the beginning,” Lueking said.
The Clear Creek grad recalled how meticulous pole vaulting is and how every little detail matters. She also remembers how strange it was starting out running with the pole.
“At the beginning, it was hard adjusting to something so odd,” Lueking said.
Despite her rocky start, Lueking didn’t quit. Rather, she persevered and went on to have one of the greatest tenures in Clear Creek track and field history.
Throughout her time at Clear Creek High School, Lueking was always looking for ways to improve her craft. When she was younger, Lueking would train with the older girls in order to push herself to the next level. As she progressed, she started to notice the potential of the younger girls and how fast they were maturing, which pushed her even further.
“It’s good to train with someone who’s better than you because you’re able to watch their jumps which makes you want to go higher,” Lueking said. “Everybody wants to be the best.”
Now graduated from high school, Lueking has been a part of some big moments. From taking seventh place in the state meet as a sophomore, to the club level, to breaking long-held records, Lueking is not afraid of the moment, but relishes in it.
“I get to go out there and do what I’ve done in practice and what I’ve worked for,” Lueking said.
Preparation is key for Lueking. She likes to stick to a loose routine the day before and of a meet. Light cardio, shaking out, stretching and getting strides in before a meet is important for her to get the blood flowing so she can be ready physically. Mentally is another story where Lueking notes the importance of visualization.
“The night before, I visualize what I need to do, Lueking said. “It’s easy to go off task and see yourself making a mistake. I need to visualize three perfect PR jumps in a row.”
Going into her senior season, Lueking knew she had to make the most of it. Most of Lueking’s junior season was taken from her like so many other athletes across the country in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a huge disappointment for Lueking and so many others, but she knew she would get one more opportunity to showcase her talents.
“If I can’t do it this year, let me get as ready and as strong and as quick as I can for the next season,” Lueking recalled. “It was a motivator”
Lueking came prepared to dominate her senior season and did she ever. On a rainy day in March at the Clear Lake Invitational, Lueking jumped 14-1, but the Clear Creek grad admits she didn’t expect to PR that meet.
“The meets where you don’t expect a PR to happen, it does,” Lueking said.
Lueking remembers how bad the weather was and even a delay because of the rain. After a rocky warmup, Lueking jumped for 13-6 and cleared it. She felt happy, but not satisfied. Next was a PR bar at the height of 13-10, which she also cleared. Looking at 14 feet next, Lueking talked with her coach and she noticed how well other people were jumping, so she decided to push the next bar to 14-1.
“If I can jump two more inches, I can jump three,” Lueking said.
After two failed attempts, Lueking cleared the bar on her last attempt and the rest is history.
“It was really exciting, I was over the moon,” Lueking said.
Although Lueking is a pole vault specialist, she is also gifted with speed as evidenced by her fifth-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles at states this past season. With the diversity of events she runs, Lueking is a more well-rounded athlete which especially helps in track and field.
“I think having too much focus on one event can sometimes psych yourself out,” Lueking said. “I think hurdles helps me with pole vault because of the conditioning required.”
After a shorter than usual high school career due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lueking had this to say about her overall experience with the Clear Creek High School track and field team.
“Work ethic, sweat and unexpected,” Lueking said.
Lueking is moving on to Oklahoma in the fall where she plans on studying nursing. On top of her studies, Lueking will also be competing on Oklahoma’s track and field team where she has set some lofty, but certainly attainable goals for herself and her team.
“I want to qualify for nationals, both indoors and outdoors individually and as a team, and I want to jump 15 feet,” Lueking said.
Lueking knows what she wants and she has the work ethic, resources and talent to do it at Oklahoma. Watch out for the future Sooner in the Big 12 Conference this fall and don’t be surprised if you see her in the Olympics one day too.