Katy Carron’s sports wild side

I can’t count how many football and basketball games I’ve photographed, but when it comes to my first time shooting sports such as swimming or pole vault, I’m lost.

The idea is simple enough: swim faster, use a stick to throw yourself over a bar. But this past Saturday while shooting pole vault, I had to pick up the phone and figure out how you actually win.

Katy Carron in a cross country uniform
Katy ran cross country and pole vaulted at Francis Howell. Family photo

A few seasons ago, I had no idea what a swimming medley relay was or, as embarrassing as it is, the difference between a breaststroke and the butterfly.

Luckily, my fiancée had the answers.

Katy Carron may have one of the most obscure high school sports resumes around. A season of cross country. A season of pole vault. A season as a hockey cheerleader. Two seasons of swimming — including competing in the 500 meter freestyle.

Katy cheers for William Woods at Anderson Arena in Fulton, Mo., on Feb. 1, 2014. Michael Gulledge photo
Katy cheers for William Woods at Anderson Arena in Fulton, Mo., on Feb. 1, 2014. Michael Gulledge photo

She didn’t stop when attending William Woods University in Fulton, Mo.: three more years of cheer and she rode saddle seat.

She also was a lifeguard and a small crafts instructor at Girl Scout camp through high school and college.

“I was not good at any of these sports, but I enjoyed them,” she says.

Meanwhile, I shot photos and had two failed bids at the golf team before retiring to a great part-time high school job at a golf course.

When talking to STLHighSchoolSports.com reporter David Kvidahl last Saturday, he said she had a wild side for competing in pole vault. That was followed up by a tweet Thursday:

Katy responded:

I can’t help but agree with David. Pole vault can be dangerous and frankly it looks painful. Nothing like missing and knocking the bar down only for it to hit you a split second after you land at the bottom.

Katy swimming for Francis Howell. Family photo
Katy swimming for Francis Howell. Family photo

Her swimming event, the 500 meter freestyle? The press row typically sighs in relief knowing they have plenty of time to work on stories before the event is complete.

“My coach stuck me in it because I didn’t really excel at any other event  but I also had the stamina to do [the 500 free],” Katy says.

Her eccentric taste in sports, however, has pushed me to enjoy a wider variety of events. Swimming is now one of my favorite sports to shoot. It has great action and both the boys and girls state championships are packed with talented athletes and dedicated fans.

As for track and field, I’m looking forward to my next chance to photograph it. Though you’re not going to see me attempt the pole vault at any height — not that anyone would want to see that anyway.

Published by Michael Gulledge

Software developer and freelance photojournalist based in St. Louis.

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