Mya Mangan Reaches New Heights

How a dad joke turned into an athletic career.


Paul Flicek, Staff Writer

Name: Mya Mangan

Sport/Event: Track and Field – Pole Vault

College Major: Undecided 

High School Attended: Naperville North

While competing at the NJCAA indoor championship, freshman pole vaulter Mya Mangan placed sixth, while jumping a personal best of 10’4.” When she isn’t flying through the air, Mya enjoys eating watermelon, giving ski lessons and watching “Napoleon Dynamite.” 

How did you get into pole vaulting?

I ran cross country at my high school, and I loved the team and all the girls that did it. This led me to quit soccer and run track in the winter and spring. I was pretty small as a freshman. My dad always joked around, telling me to try pole vault since it would be funny. During practice, we were allowed to try other events, so I tried pole vault. I actually ended up hating it and never wanted to do it again. The pole vault coach came back to me a few weeks later and told me I was doing it. Even though I didn’t want to, she pushed me to keep doing it. 

Was there a time you truly got invested in the sport? 

I jumped sophomore year and qualified for state. I realized I had to commit to pole vault. If I was going to compete in a sport, this would be it. 

Why did you choose College of DuPage? 

I was very close to the area. COD was a very popular topic in my high school. I knew it was a great school, and it was a lot more affordable than other schools in the area. 

When did you find out you would be jumping in college? 

In my junior year I didn’t get to compete because of COVID. During my senior year, I was injured for part of the season, so I didn’t get to jump too much. Especially since I didn’t jump at all junior year, I didn’t think anything of jumping in college. Then, I started to get coaches reaching out to me, and I was shocked that schools wanted me to jump for them. Once I started touring colleges, I realized I worked for this and did it myself, so college is going to look different than what I originally thought. 

What are your hobbies outside of school and sports?

During the winter, I work as a ski instructor. It is so much fun. I get to coach a bunch of different people and be social. I am a very social person, so I love it. During the indoor track season, it’s something I get to do outside of school and practice. 

How did you get into skiing? 

My parents put me in lessons when I was really little. That was where we learned. Then we went on family trips around Colorado. I applied to work at the hill last season, and now I get to coach little kids, which is pretty cool. 

Is there a certain athlete you look up to? 

I don’t have a favorite athlete. There isn’t anybody I really gravitate towards. I follow all the world leaders and Olympians on Instagram, but I also follow a lot of different athletes because I find their sports so interesting. 

Having already qualified for this year’s NJCAA Division III outdoor track and field championship, Mangan will look to improve each week in preparation for the event.