JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
BURNET — Blake Skoog always has been somewhat of a thrill seeker.
Years before she secured an athletic scholarship to be a pole vaulter for the University of North Texas, the Burnet High School senior spent her time working with horses.
But in the eighth grade, coaches saw that Skoog had a several traits that would make her a good pole vaulter.
“Determination and hard work,” she said. “And you can’t be scared. You can’t ever be afraid to go for it.”
Those things helped her break own her program record, clearing 12 feet this year. It’s also why UNT offered her a scholarship.
But the reason she chose the Mean Green when she signed her letter of intent May 20 was because of how comfortable she felt on the campus and the distance from home.
“I really like the campus and the location,” she said. “The coaches are really fun.”
Skoog worked throughout the year on the pole vault, she said, steadily working to increase her ability to clear higher vaults.
Pole vaulting coach Glen Hafley said those who excel at the event are willing to devote blocks of time to getting better, adding it’s not unusual for vaulters to end their practices at 6 p.m.
“It’s been an absolute honor to have her and watch her pole vault,” he said.
She has met other pole vaulters, who have signed with other schools in Conference USA.
“It takes endurance, abs and a lot of body strength,” she said. “Speed is crucial.”
Girls athletic coordinator Doug Messer said those qualities are why coaches chose her to be the first leg in the 4×100- and 4×200-meter relays.
“She’s done anything we’ve asked her to do,” he said. “I would be willing to bet she has amassed more points for Burnet than anyone we’ve had. She’ll be truly missed.”
The daughter of Suzzanne Haney and Eric Skoog will major in business and finance to earn an MBA in four years. She already has enough hours to enter UNT as a sophomore.