NAPERVILLE, Ill. -- Winning an NCAA title is exciting for any athlete, but to win the crown two weeks after setting a national record has a surreal feel for Ramapo senior Michelle Favre.

After qualifying for the indoor championships in each of the past four years, Favre finally took home the individual title in pole vault on the first day of the Division III Track and Field Championships, clearing 13 feet, 3 1/2 inches, which fell just shy of her national record of 13-9 3/4, which she set at the ECAC indoor championships.

“I would have liked to jump higher, but I knew it was going to be tough because of the stress of the meet and everything,” Favre said. “I’m just glad I was able to achieve my goal of winning and not freak out or anything.”

Favre is the first female athlete in school history to earn an individual national title, which just adds to her storied history in the sport.

“[Favre’s] win is historic,” Ramapo head coach Mike Jackson said. “I think that the relationship between her and Branko [Miric] has been great and they’ve been able to hone their skills.

“Branko was her teacher in high school, he was her coach. She came to Ramapo and [he] came to Ramapo, as well, so they reassessed their goals. It’s good to see the storyline and how it started and how it's continuing.”

Miric started coaching Favre in pole vault during her sophomore year of high school, but made the move to Ramapo before Favre to help coach one of his other athletes. After experiencing a rough senior year, Favre decided that the coaching at Ramapo would help her reach greater heights than anywhere else, both on the track and in the classroom.

“It’s a lot of fun flying in the air. I don’t even know how to describe it,” Favre said. “To have a good jump, it just feels good and my motivation in track transfers to my classes.” 

Miric has been proud to watch Favre grow during their time together.

“It’s such a unique opportunity to get to coach someone this many years,” Miric said. “All these accidental things came together and that’s why we’ve been working together so long. This is the seventh year now and it’s just amazing to see where she’s gotten to.”

Even with setbacks, Favre has kept her head down and powered through, never staying down for long.

“She’s the most even-keeled person I coach,” Miric said. “Last year she got a herniated disk and I was really concerned about her being able to compete, but luckily we found a good chiropractor and she was fine. She actually had her best season before this one last year. She’s just always able to overcome that kind of adversity.”

Even though this is Favre’s last season at Ramapo she plans to keep competing, this time in the national arena.

“This indoor [season] she just missed making indoor USAs so if she can jump 14 [feet] at outdoors, which I think is possible, she can make outdoor USAs,” Miric said. ‘I think next year will be a big transition so who knows where it will go.”