Mercer Island High School’s Jenin Obeidat on and off the sports scene. Photos courtesy of and Kyana Harris

Mercer Island High School’s Jenin Obeidat on and off the sports scene. Photos courtesy of and Kyana Harris

Obeidat vaults her way to Dartmouth College

She will compete in Ivy League sports events and major in data science.

Jenin Obeidat is always up for a challenge on the track and field scene.

The Mercer Island High School (MIHS) senior is not only a stellar pole vaulter, but also tackles the 4×400 relay, triple jump and 300-meter hurdles. She added the latter two events to her repertoire just this season.

The Dartmouth College-bound pole vaulter said she likes to keep busy at competitions, hence the four events placed on her docket. After observing her pole-vaulting skills, the MIHS coaches pointed her toward the hurdles.

“I think they kind of figured like, ‘Oh, hurdles, that’s another event that some people find kind of scary, so maybe we can just throw Jenin into it,’” she said with a laugh.

Obeidat began her pole-vaulting journey a little over a year ago and has notched personal records of 11 feet-nine inches unofficial and 11 feet-three inches official. She’s hoping to clear 12 feet soon.

After competing in the gymnastics realm for 12 years at a high level, Obeidat turned toward the pole vault and hasn’t looked back. She said her gymnastics skills are an ideal fit for the pole vault. It’s a smooth transition from one sport to the other, she said, adding that many vaulters have gymnastics backgrounds.

She fell in love with the sport after watching a gymnastics friend go the vaulting route and compete at UCLA.

Along with the skills comes a no-holds-barred mindset when she flows up the runway toward the vault pit.

“I think gymnastics definitely helped a lot with that, because in gymnastics you have to be really fearless, you have to go for everything and you have to make corrections on the first try,” said Obeidat.

When discussing the coaches in her corner, Obeidat gives a shoutout to Tim Reilly at Northwest Pole Vault Club and Dartmouth’s Porscha Dobson and Tim Wunderlich. Along with vaulting at Dartmouth, she will major in data science.

The Reporter asked Obeidat a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:

What superpower would you like to have?

It would probably be flying because that kind of goes hand in hand with pole vault a little bit. So if I could fly as high as I could that would be really fun.

What special skill would you like to learn?

I’ve had a boat for a couple of years and I am super used to going tubing, but I’ve never actually really tried wake surfing. I’m hoping to pick that up this summer.

If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?

Sandi Morris (Olympic pole vaulter). I guess I’d want to get her input on how she gets so high. She’s insane (her PR is 16-5).

What’s your dream vacation spot?

I’ve been wanting to go to anywhere where I could see the Northern Lights, so maybe Finland or something like that.

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

“Life of Pi.” It’s a really emotional film, but it’s super good.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I hope to be a data scientist. Hopefully have a family sometime in 10-15 (years), however long it takes.

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