GREENWOOD (KFSM) - Before Bailee McCorkle became Greenwood’s star pole vaulter she spent the majority of her early years in competitive gymnastics.
"I was state champion a few times in gymnastics," said McCorkle. "It was really fun I just kind of got burnt out so I needed a new thing to do and pole vaulting is a lot of fun."
Bailee’s background in gymnastics helped her easily transition into pole vaulting. By seventh grade she set a school record at a high school level, and by ninth grade she won her first outdoor state title. She knew then, that she wanted to pursue this sport at the collegiate level.
"I can actually do this," said McCorkle. "So I started to get real serious. I did basketball, but I quit basketball because I realized I needed focus on pole vaulting and I knew I wanted to do it in college."
McCorkle had four colleges extend offers to her for pole vaulting, but she said that as soon as she visited Arkansas she knew that she found her next home.
"I loved Arkansas so much," said McCorkle. "I am very familiar with the atmosphere there I really couldn’t find anything wrong with it, and I know that sounds weird but at others schools, there was just always that one thing. It was an honor to pick Arkansas, it just felt like home to me and I always wanted to be a Razorback."
McCorkle was also inspired to follow in the footsteps of a pole vaulter she admired, Olympian Sandi Morris.
"She is really strong and fast I want to be just like her," said McCorkle. "I look up to her because not only did she almost win the gold medal she didn’t let that stop her from continuing and doing what she loves. She always has motivated me when she was in college and even more so now. I follow her and keep up with her, she really inspires me."
Before she moves onto Fayetteville, McCorkle’s goal is to eclipse her personal record (12-9) at Greenwood and clear the 13-foot mark.