Junior Danielle (Dani) Wojciechowski ’19, a physical and health education major, has made an indelible mark on the women’s track and field team. In her first season as a Bethel Pilot, the transfer student from Roselle, Ill., claimed not one but two NAIA national championships in the women’s pole vault (both indoor and outdoor).
She became the first women’s track and field athlete in Bethel history to win an individual national title and the first athlete in the history of the program to capture multiple titles. Additionally, she finished the season as a four-time all-American, Crossroads League Champion and five-time Crossroads League Women’s Field Athlete of the Week, and set both indoor and outdoor women’s pole vault records for the Pilots.
But she hasn’t let the success go to her head. She sees it as a platform to share with others about her college and her faith.

“It’s really awesome to get Bethel’s name out there,” she says. “Every time I jump, I realize that this is a huge challenge that God has given me and I give glory to Him.”

With a background in gymnastics and springboard diving, Wojciechowski took up pole vaulting in high school, finding a new kind of thrill in propelling her body into the air and feeling, just for a moment, like she could fly.

– NAIA Indoor National Title (March 2017): 3.82-meters (12 feet 6.25 inches)
– NAIA Outdoor National Title (May 2017): 4.0-meters (13 feet 1.5 inches)
– Bethel College Indoor Record: 4.01 meters
(13 feet 1.75 inches)

She relies on muscle memory and trusts her coaches when attempting to clear a higher bar, but credits much of her success to a rigorous training program. This includes conditioning, heavy lifting and sprinting, in addition to actually jumping. In fact, she stayed close to campus over the summer so she could continue training with her coaches.

“Danny [Wilkerson] and JW [Maierle] have really invested in me. They are very serious and focused,” Wojciechowski says. “Bethel probably has one of the best coaching staffs in the country for track and field. When I first came, [head] coach Tony Natali made me feel right at home.”

Looking to the 2017-18 season, Wojciechowski feels pressure to repeat her performance from last season, but stays motivated by focusing on her season verse: Hebrews 2:11. “Discipline is not fun but produces results,” she paraphrases.

“For me, I love the sport and I have so much fun doing it – the success is just the cherry on top,” Wojciechowski says.