Five questions with Torben Laidig

Editor’s note: Every Wednesday throughout the fall, we’ll catch up with track and field student-athletes and coaches for five questions.

Q: Was there any sense of fear when you began pole vaulting?

LAIDIG: “I think when you look at us as collegiate pole vaulters, you only see us at the state that you see right now (on the track competing). So, you don’t see the process which began at an age like 14 years old. You take small steps to get to that level, and I feel like that gradual increase in height and speed takes away from a lot of the fear because it’s the process.”

Q: What was it like having a phenomenal freshman year with being an ACC champion and All-American Honorable Mention?

LAIDIG: “I jumped about 17 feet in high school, but I had a really good fall of training and I actually didn’t enroll at Virginia Tech until the spring. The base work and everything went really well, I didn’t have to deal with any injuries during that time. When I came here, I hadn’t’ really lifted before so I intensified my training. So, I think everything we did once I get here just worked, so it was all to them (coaching staff). I increased my PR by a foot in about three months.”

Q: After a great freshman year, you redshirted the following year. Why?

LAIDIG: “Going into my second year, I wanted to take it to the next level. I think I ended up doing too much with trying to train harder and harder every day. So, at one point, my hip sustained osteitis pubis, which put me out for half a year. Basically all I did during that time was biking, with a lot of bike intervals to stay in shape. Then I worked on the imbalances that caused the injury in the first place. So doing a lot of rehab and getting those imbalances fixed helped a lot.”

Q: Following that, you preformed at an elite level once again, but this past spring you suffered an injury. What was it like rehabbing for months the second time around?

LAIDIG: “Well, it was obviously frustrating, especially with the season I had going, which was going as planned. I won the ACC meet and was first-team All-American for indoors at Texas A&M, but I wasn’t satisfied with the height I had and it wasn’t quite what I was expecting because I knew I had more potential. So, right after the end of the season I focused on technique and a shorter approach to get rid of all of the flaws that I still had. Following that, I started outdoors and we went to the Texas Relays and I felt like everything just came together. I set a personal record with a 5.70-meter vault, which is like 18 feet, eight inches, a world standard at that point. I was so excited. Then, I had my next practice and broke my scaphoid (wrist), so there went my season. I think it stung a little more this time around because I had a chance to go far, including the World Championships. But my teammates were very supportive.”

Q: What did winning the 2017 ACC Scholar Athlete of the Year mean to you?

LAIDIG: “It was definitely an honor for me to win that award. I obviously put an emphasis, and our coaches also, on academics. And I really like that about Virginia Tech. The reason I put a big priority on it is because Coach [Dave] Cianelli always says it’s a mindset. You should want to do well on everything you do and give it your best every day, and it doesn’t matter if it is sports, academics or becoming a better person. I think I have just taken what he has said and try to make the best out of my time here.”

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