Julia Gherardi Aims Higher at NDSU


After winning the last two Class AA State Championship pole vault titles, we will have a new champion this year as Hibbing graduate Julia Gherardi paves her path forward at North Dakota State University as a freshman. 

We recently caught up with Julia to talk about her track and field career, her goals as a NDSU athlete, and how different college is from high school. 


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How did you first get involved with track and field?

I first joined track in 7th grade, I wanted to join because my mom was in track. She was a long jumper and sprinter and I wanted to follow in her footsteps and long jump and sprint. But then I discovered pole vault 

You vaulted 13' 0" at last year's State Track and Field Championships to win the Class AA title. How did it feel to accomplish such a vault? and win your 2nd straight state title?

It was a surreal moment, 13 feet was my goal for a long time and I hadn't been performing my best throughout the year so it was amazing to see everything come together.

You are one of six Minnesota girls to ever vault over 13 feet as a high schooler. How does it feel to be a part of such an exclusive group of girls?

I feel honored to be ranked among such a high level of vaulters. One of those vaulters is Julia Fixen, she has the MN state record of 13'9" and is now placing top 5 in the NCAA championships so it is an honor to be ranked alongside her.

Outside of pole vaulting, what was your favorite event to compete in during high school?

I loved competing in the sprinting events, specifically the 100m dash and 4x100m and 4x200m relay which I also participated in at the 2022 state meet.

Related: Gherardi and Reis Voted Minnesota T&F Athletes of the Year

Last year you were voted the MileSplit Minnesota girls track and field athlete of the year. What did that mean to you?

Being voted girls track athlete of the year meant so much to me, I felt so supported by my friends, family, community and everyone that voted for me.

You are now a pole vaulter at North Dakota State University. How did you come to choose NDSU?

After the NDSU pole vault coach called my coach I started to look into the school and track program and the more I looked into it the more I grew to like it and once I visited campus and got to meet the coaches and some of the girls on the team I fell in love with the community. Everyone here is like a family and helps each other to be the best they can be.

You have a couple of meets done already as a collegiate athlete. How has it been different and what would you like to change about what you've done so far?

As a collegiate athlete there are much higher stacks on the line given that there is more pressure to perform and as far as what I would like to change like any style of competition there will be struggles but with those struggle you learn to grow and adapt and become stronger for it so there is nothing i would change about what I've done so far.

Going into the 2023 track and field season, what would you like to accomplish?

My goal for this season is to PR and place at both the indoor and outdoor conference meet.

What was your favorite memory as a high school athlete?

One of my favorite memories is the section meet of my senior year, I competed in the 100m dash, pole vault, and the 4x100 and 4x200m relay where I set a season PR in all those events and got to help 3 other girls to the state meet. but the best part has to be making friends and building relationships with my teammates, coaches, and everyone who has helped me along the way. The relationships I built throughout my high school career are priceless.