Scharmann dreams big, aims to leave legacy at WSU

Redshirt sophomore chose Pullman over two other schools



Redshirt sophomore pole vaulter Molly Scharmann talks about competing with her siblings growing up and her goals for the remainder of the season.

AVERY COOPER, Evergreen reporter

Already sitting in a tie for third in the WSU all-time pole-vaulting record books as a redshirt sophomore, Molly Scharmann has even bigger goals.

“Any collegiate athlete’s dream is to be a professional athlete,” Scharmann said. “If they’re not dreaming of that, then I don’t know what they’re doing.”

Participating in sports is something that runs in the family. Her older brother Kelby Scharmann played golf at University of La Verne and was an individual medalist at the 2015 NCAA Division II Golf Championship.

Her older sister Emily is a cross country runner for University of California, Los Angeles, who finished her collegiate career in the fall.

“We all compete with each other because I’m not going to let my sister be more successful than I am,” Scharmann said. “I think we all bring out the competitive side in each other. Then we also have the self-driven side too, because we just want to be the best we can be.”

Scharmann said she followed in her sister’s footsteps by pursuing running.

“I was a copycat child. I just did everything they did,” Scharmann said. “I realized I wasn’t going to be as good as [Emily] in cross country and that I wanted a change.”

That change came in her freshman year at Tesoro High School in California, when she and her friends attended a track and field tryout.

“I didn’t really want to run so I was like ‘oh, I’ll go try triple jump,’ ” Scharmann said. “I tried triple jump and was horrible … so then I just tried pole vaulting and I loved it.”

A native of Southern California, Scharmann chose WSU after receiving offers from La Verne, California, and California State University, Fullerton.

“It was a [Division I] Pac-12 school and was obviously my best option,” Scharmann said, “so I just took a shot in the dark and just came.”

When she arrived at WSU, Scharmann experienced a transition year. Assistant Coach Brad Walker said Scharmann was devastated to learn that she would be redshirted her first season.

“As a freshman, she was kind of bright-eyed, bushy tail … coming into college not really sure what to do,” Walker said.

When her redshirt season ended, Scharmann finally had her chance to compete in the Pac-12.

During the indoor season last year, she vaulted a then-personal record of 3.97 meters, which was good for eighth place at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships.

“All of a sudden she started having PR after PR and really started to figure things out,” Walker said. “I think it gave her a glimpse of what was and what could be.”

Now in her second season of eligibility, Walker said Scharmann has continued to grow.

The entrepreneurship major said she wants to reach her personal goal of pole vaulting 14 feet by the end of the season.

Walker believes eclipsing a mark of 14 feet would qualify Scharmann for the NCAA Preliminary Rounds.

Despite Scharmann’s success, Walker said her strength and technique are two areas she can improve.

Walker said Scharmann has a shot to be among the best vaulters in the Pac-12, but it is all about continuing the process that got her here in the first place.

“For her to take that number-one spot, she’s going to have to have a really good next couple of months,” Walker said. “Coming back next year, as long as she puts together a good summer and gets stronger and that sort of thing, I think she’ll be vying for that top spot in the Pac-12.”