'Maggie Vaults Over the Moon'

‘Maggie’ Lifts Real-Life Maggie Over the Moon

Margaret (Maggie) Wheatley, practicing her plant on a bamboo shoot at Zoo Miami, soared to new heights this season.

Maggie Wheatley, practicing her plant on a bamboo shoot at Zoo Miami, Florida, soared to new heights this past season for the SF Heat Track Club.

Aspiring pole-vaulter Margaret (Maggie) Wheatley discovered Maggie Vaults Over the Moon last summer. She was so inspired by the story, she stayed up all night to read it in one sitting, posting tweets about it on Twitter, and then she wrote a great review.

Wheatley tasted victory this season following the example of her storybook idol, Maggie Steele.

Maggie tasted victory this season by following the example of her storybook idol.

Wheatley, 16, will be a high school junior. She lives in Weston, Florida, where she is home schooled and competes for the SF Heat Track Club.

Author Grant Overstake says, “Maggie Wheatley is funny, bright, athletic, artistic, courageous, and wonderful. She has a passion for pole vaulting and her faith gives her the strength and zeal to overcome all obstacles. I’m happy to know that there’s a real-life Maggie in this world, and that she’s truly a great young woman.”

We caught up with her recently and she was excited to let us know how Maggie Steele, the heroine in the novel, continues to inspire her.

We think you’ll be inspired by the real-life Maggie, too.

Maggie Wheatley, second row, second from left, competes for the SF Heat Track Club.

Maggie Wheatley, second row, second from left, competes for the SF Heat Track Club.

My 2014 Track Season by Maggie Wheatley

A month before the Florida state meet, I was doubting whether it was even a possibility that I could make it. But God had even bigger plans!

However, I think I’ll start from the beginning:

Maggie was discouraged by her slow progress, then the worst thing that could happen happened.

Maggie was struggling, and then the worst thing happened.

Halfway through this past season, I hadn’t bettered my personal record and I was getting discouraged because there were new pole vaulters on my team, the SF Heat, and one was really excelling, and I was fearful she would surpass me.

Then the worst thing that could possibly happen happened.

At practice on a very stormy and windy day, my coach and former teammate Ross and I were working on keeping my feet together (since this had been a problem) and I spiked myself on the side of my knee. My mom took me to the doctor that night and I got 9 stitches!

I was so worried with only four meets left before districts (two and a half weeks away) that I wouldn’t be able to qualify for the state meet, let alone reach my goal of getting a medal at the state meet.

Recovering from her injury, Maggie re-read her favorite sports story.

Maggie re-read her favorite sports story.

And that’s where Maggie comes in.

One day while I was resting at home, I saw my copy of Maggie Vaults Over the Moon  sitting next to my bed, and decided to re-read the first couple chapters. I thought how losing a family member is way harder than getting stitches, and how Maggie made over 12-0, and that’s what I wanted. I remembered the Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and I was motivated again!

Two days, and no practices, after getting my stitches out, I had a track meet. In my first meet back, I cleared 8-0, which equaled my personal best. I kept working. Second week back, I cleared 8-6, the height I had been working toward all season.

At practice the following week, my coach wrote goals on the board for vaulters on my team: 9-6 for one girl, and 9-0 for another, but no goal for me. I wrote in big letters my name above both of theirs and 10-0 next to it.

The next meet I cleared 9-0, and I was so happy! But I was nervous that 9-0 wouldn’t be good enough to qualify for the state meet. At Districts, I only cleared 8-6 and I was becoming even more nervous.

The regional meet was the best meet of the season so far.

The regional meet was the best so far.

The regional meet was by far my favorite meet of the year. My warm-up jumps felt good and strong. I was excited and so ready! First jump, 7-6, clear; second jump, 8-0, clear, third jump, 8-6, clear! At this point I was winning the competition because everyone else had at least one miss.

And then I cleared 9-0!

Just about everyone else had either missed at least once or gone out. But I wasn’t sure how many vaulters were left, and I was so nervous! But then heard the official say, “Three vaulters left!”

I WAS GOING TO STATE!

But this was no time to celebrate because I still wanted to jump a new personal best of 9-6. On the runway I prayed, “If this is for your glory Lord, let it be so!”

image.phpI missed my first attempt, knocking the bar down. But on my second attempt, I cleared 9-6! It was the best moment of my life! I had some good tries at 10-0, but I wasn’t too concerned about not clearing it. By then I was too happy to focus because I was going to the Class 1A Florida State Track & Field Championships!

The state meet was cold and rainy but Maggie stayed focused.

The state meet was cold and rainy but Maggie stayed focused.

The day of the state meet was a cold, wet, nerve-wrenching day. Amazing for some and horrible for others. My teammate went out much lower than expected, due to her hand slipping on the wet pole.

But when I jumped, I couldn’t help but enjoy it. I was at the place I had been working toward for months! The place I so eagerly wanted to be! I can’t put into words the feelings I felt when I jumped over 9-0 and heard the official say, “Two vaulters left!”

I WON THE SILVER MEDAL!

WheatleyMedalWithInsertSomehow, through everything I’d been through, I’d gotten there. And, just like Maggie, nothing else mattered, because I was exactly where I wanted to be — over the moon!

I owe a lot to author Grant Overstake because his book inspired me to train in the off season and to keep pushing through, and I will always be grateful for that.

Also, I forgot to add that Daniel Ryland came to the state meet and coached me, which was amazing and super nice of him!

Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is available in paperback and eBook through Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and other online booksellers. Coming soon on audiobook, performed by award-winning narrator, Tavia Gilbert.

Six-time Audie Award Finalist Tavia Gilbert will read the audiobook version of Maggie!

Six-time Audie Award Finalist Tavia Gilbert will read the audiobook version of Maggie!

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