The MCHS Class of 2020 Track and Field athletes will miss their senior year season, cutting them short to display their talents in the individual events. Although this rings true for the entire nation, one Monroe City Panther continues to reach new heights accepting an athletic scholarship in Pole Vaulting. Lila Yager has committed to continuing her collegiate career at Maryville University to compete on the school’s Track and Field Team.

Lila is the daughter of Rodney and Mary Yager, and a sister to two brothers, Parker and Hunter. She plans to major in the field of Nursing and has set her goals high, stating, “I want to eventually become an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner.” Following in her dad’s footsteps of being a doctor, she shared, “I have always known I wanted to work in the medical field. I looked into nursing and decided this was the path for me.”

Lila is no stranger to competing in the pole vaulting event and has already met and competed with athletes from the Maryville University, as she explained, “I pole vaulted on the Pole Vault St. Louis Club during the winter. The coach for that club is the same coach I will have at the college. I met athletes from Maryville through the club and really liked their program.” Lila admitted already knowing a few people does help, but stated,” While I am excited to meet new people, I am also nervous.”

MCHS Athletic Director and Head Basketball Coach Cody Leonard shared his experience of coaching Lila, stating, “Lila has been a stellar student athlete in her time at Monroe City.  We wish her nothing but the best at Maryville University as she continues her pole vault and academic career.  She is an extremely hard worker and very coachable.  We are sure she will excel at the next level and look forward to watching all her continued success.”  

She began pole vaulting the summer before her seventh-grade year with the help of the late Dennis Hancock as her coach, which later led her to the State Meet three years in a row. MCHS Head Track and Field Coach Laura Mulvaney stated, “Lila is the type of athlete that sets goals for herself and doesn’t stop until she achieves them. She worked hard to become a 3-time All-State athlete, and would’ve done it again this year. Lila has so much potential and I can’t wait to see what kind of heights she achieves at the next level.”

During high school Lila also competed in basketball and was a member of FFA, Book Club, Science Club, Spanish Club and Hands for Hope. Her favorite part of being on the Monroe City Track and Field Team was the opportunity to share the experience with her friends and fellow athletes, Carly Youngblood and Riley Fortner, stating, “I enjoyed pole vaulting with them and all their help and support along the way.”

As Lila moves forward in her pole vaulting career, she knows her brother Parker will be there to cheer her on, stating, “Parker has been my inspiration,” as she explained he helps her with advice and learns from watching him, she added, “He has always been there to coach me and I have watched him lead the way as he attends college.”