NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Peyton Blanding says she performs better at track meets than she does in practice. The pressure, the adrenaline and the opportunity to set personal bests buoy Blanding to new heights.
Her preference for the big moment is well represented in the Christopher Newport pole vaulter's 2022 results. Blanding owns the top 5 clearances in the Coast to Coast Athletic Conference this year. She's recorded the second highest clearance in school history, with the ultimate goal of breaking that record. She holds two conference titles and two All Region selections. Safe to say that her affinity for meets is well founded.
Her success on the biggest stage does not come because she blocks out the nerves that accompany these moments, but rather BECAUSE of those nerves. Blanding calls them motivators.
A senior with graduation on the horizon, Blanding is looking to round out that resume with some 2022 postseason success. She began pole vaulting as a high school freshman after a gymnastics teammate convinced her to give it a try, and she hasn't stopped since. COVID has granted her an extra year of eligibility, but she's not sure if she'll pursue grad school and the extended athletic career that could come with it. That means each time those big meet nerves creep in, it could be the last time. It's safe to say that Peyton Blanding will miss it.