Sarah Glidden ranks as the number one pentathlete in the country while also breaking UW-Eau Claire Women’s track records in the high jump and various other events

Glidden shines in multiple indoor track events

More stories from Colette St. John

December 13, 2016

Photo by Kendall Ruchti

Glidden has secured herself as the number one pentathlete in the country after receiving a culminating score of 3578, while also outperforming the competition in other indoor track events as well.

While most might be familiar with the event that brought Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, gold medal fame in 1976, a similar event promotes a Blugold athlete to the top of the nation’s leaderboard: the pentathlon, consisting of five events instead of ten in the decathlon.

This one-day indoor track event includes the 16-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and finally the 800-meter dash where the multiple scores for each event culminate into one overall score.

Sarah Glidden, of UW-Eau Claire women’s track and field team, not only broke the school record for the pentathlon this year, but secured herself as the No. 1 pentathlete in the country on Jan. 29 at the UW- Stout Bowlus Invite after receiving a score of 3578.
“It’s just been really awesome, the support of my teammates definitely keeps me going,” Glidden said. “And we all pray before which helps bring my spirits up to know that God is always there.”

Most track athletes train in one or two specific areas, whereas Glidden and four other Blugolds in the women’s pentathlon event train in five, practicing most days of the week for three hours or more each time.

Glidden has also found success in other areas by setting the high jump school record of 1.69/5-6.5 at the first meet of the season, participating in one of the top five-ranked women’s 4×400 relay teams in the nation and is ranked within the top 20 for 16-meter hurdles in the nation.

She jumped into the pentathlon event as a sophomore after head track coach Chip Schneider advised her to try it out. Soon enough her athletic ability took reign and the event proved successful, Schneider said.

“Even if there was no pentathlon, Sarah Glidden would be a national caliber athlete in a couple other events,” Schneider said. “She’s definitely a busy person and an athlete we can do a lot of different things with.”

Giving all of the honor to God, Glidden said she has become more serious about the pentathlon event and has seen much growth over the past year. She credits her teammates for being a large part of her success, creating a sort of family atmosphere where they can support each other in and out of practices and meets.

“Building each other up is so important, to cheer for each other and to just know that our teammates are behind us and pushing us,” Glidden said. “You don’t want to quit on your teammates.”

Schneider said it will be difficult to decide what events Glidden will compete in at the national meet in March. Her all-encompassing nature makes her valuable in several different events, but she’ll only be able to compete in a few.

“I would guess she’s going to put some numbers up in the next couple of years that will make it really tough for her to not stay a record holder for a very long time,” Schneider said.

Glidden’s athletic ability could prompt future success in NCAA Division I or II, Schneider said. He’s excited to see where she ends up because she has a lot more room to grow and improve.

“She’s going to go down as one of the best athletes that has ever walked on UW-Eau Claire’s campus as far as I’m concerned,” Schneider said. “She’s just that talented.”