Written by Wichitan Grant Overstake, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is an uplifting story about a high school senior who faces tragic circumstances on a Kansas family farm but overcomes through the daring, sometimes dangerous sport of pole-vaulting.
In the story, heroine Maggie Steele is recruited by Shocker coaches Steve Rainbolt and Pat Wilson, who want her to join the Missouri Valley Conference’s powerhouse women’s track team. It’s a big decision that could change her life, and the future of her family’s farm.
“Of course,you’ll need to read the story to see how it all turns out,” Overstake says.
As Director of Track & Field and Cross Country, Rainbolt is the leader of the Wichita State men’s and women’s track and field teams. During her visit to the Coach’s office, Maggie underestimates the number of Coach of the Year awards she sees on the coach’s shelf, thinking there are “at least ten of them.”
Actually, since his arrival at Wichita State, Rainbolt has been named MVC Coach of the Year 14 times. Entering the 2013 season, his program has produced 23 All-Americans, 65 NCAA national qualifiers and 160 individual MVC champions during his time at Wichita State.
Assistant Coach Pat Wilson joins Rainbolt in the story. Under his direction, WSU has developed one of the most successful pole-vaulting programs in the Midwest.
In the past two seasons, Wilson has coached the vault crew to five all-conference performances and one individual MVC title. Former MVC outdoor champion Cassie Craig, with a personal best of 13-4, is ranked No. 1 on the MVC preseason list. Like Maggie Steele, Wilson grew up in a rural community in Kansas. He was an all-conference vaulter for the Shockers and a member of the 1994 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championship team.
Written for young adult readers, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon appeals to sports fans of all ages. It has been endorsed by U.S. Olympic pole vaulters Becky Holliday and Jeremy Scott, and USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan. According to the author, WSU Coaches Rainbolt and Wilson are big fans of the story as well.
“Coach Rainbolt read the book while traveling to the NCAA Cross-Country Championships a few weeks ago. He sent me several texts about how much he was enjoying the story, confessing that he’d even teared up a few times reading about Maggie,” Overstake said. “I know Pat Wilson also got a real charge out of being in the book, especially how it captures the things he experienced growing up in rural Kansas.”
For Overstake, including the Shocker program in Maggie Vaults Over the Moon was an easy decision to make. He began serving as a Volunteer Assistant Coach on the Shocker Track & Field team this season, working with multi-event athletes.
“In my research for the book, Coach Rainbolt and Coach Wilson gave me complete access. As a result, Maggie captures the competitive spirit of the great student athletes in the Shocker program,” Overstake said.
The Shockers tune-up for the coming indoor season at its annual Intrasquad Meet Friday at the Heskett Center, starting at 11 a.m. The Shocker’s quest for MVC indoor championships begins Jan. 9-10 with the Herm Wilson Invitational at the Heskett Center.