Brittany Bishop is a junior track and field athlete at Anderson County High School and in her brief window of pole vaulting at the high school level she’s quite literally flying higher than any other girl in the state of Tennessee. Brittany won the state outdoor championship last spring as a sophomore for the Mavericks and she went to indoor meets this winter and won the state championship there as well. Her personal record was 12’1” when I interviewed her for this story, but in the few days since she moved it up to 12’2” and now stands just 5 inches away from the state record of 12’7”.

Bishop only started pole vaulting 3 years ago and has made incredible progress in a short time. An excellent athlete overall, she is also a state level 100m hurdle racer and finished 6th in the state as a sophomore in that event and you can probably look for her to be there again this spring for that event. Pole vaulting however, is her true calling. I noticed her coaching some of her teammates at a recent event and giving them general encouragement. When I asked, this was her advice to future pole vaulters in what is an intimidating sport at times. “Be confident,” said Bishop, “you can’t have self-doubt in this sport. If you tell yourself you can’t do it, you never will. You need to have relaxed aggression. By that I mean be relaxed with the pole in your hands but be very aggressive on your run and take-off. In this event a little aggression goes a long way towards success.”

Bishop hasn’t yet decided on a college but says she is hearing from several at this point. She has a wide variety of potential academic interests. “I either plan to study criminology and sociology with a focus on linguistics or I will study atmospheric science. My dream is to become a writer but I want to make sure I have a steady income before I start pursing that dream.”

For someone who’s head is practically in the clouds by virtue of vaulting into the sky, her feet are firmly on the ground and you can expect to hear big things out of her in the future. A future that likely includes more state championships, possibly a state record and maybe even a best selling novel. I, for one, wouldn’t doubt her at all in achieving any goal to which she applies herself.