Hokies sign top female vaulter from Sweden

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech track and field and cross country director Dave Cianelli announced Monday that Lisa Gunnarsson (Stockholm, Sweden) has signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Hokies for the 2017-18 season.

“We are very excited to have Lisa join the Hokies track and field team,” said pole vault coach Bob Phillips. “An elite background in gymnastics along with excellent speed has allowed her to quickly become one of the best young vaulters in the world. She is an extremely focused athlete and is a very serious student, so I think Virginia Tech is a great fit for her. I look forward to working with her and helping her accomplish her goals as well as the goals of our team.”

A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Gunnarsson holds a personal-best vault of 4.55 meters (14 ft., 11 in.), which was set during the 2017 indoor season. Her 4.55-meter mark ranks as the No. 2 U-20 vault in the world and also is listed as the fifth-best vault on the all-time world junior indoor list.

Gunnarsson has participated in several international championships, most recently placing sixth at the 2017 European Indoor Senior Championships. She also competed at the 2016 World Junior Championships and was a silver medalist at the 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival.

In 2016, she set the world youth record of 4.50 meters (14 ft., 9 in.) and was ranked fourth among junior athletes (U-20). Her father’s career has led her to live in four countries, and she currently lives in Paris, France. Gunnarsson is coached by Alain Donias of the French Athletics Club Stade Francais. As a Swedish citizen living in France, she has finished in the top three at both the Swedish and French National Championships.

The daughter of Mats and Ulrika Gunnarsson, she will enroll in engineering at Virginia Tech.

“I chose to attend Virginia Tech because it offers me the ability to study and focus on athletics simultaneously,” Gunnarsson stated. “I believe that joining this community will improve both my academic and athletic skills. Academically, I thought that Virginia Tech was the best place for me to improve in the way that I want too as well as achieve my goals athletically.”

The Virginia Tech track and field teams will send a program-best 36 student-athletes to this year’s NCAA East Regional Preliminary Rounds held in Lexington, Kentucky, on the University of Kentucky’s campus from May 25-27.

Fans can follow all the action during each meet of the 2017 outdoor season by following the squad on Twitter and Instagram.

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