Norwin pole vaulter lands with Division I track program at Northeastern

Saturday, February 18, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Pole vaulting was, in the beginning, nothing more than a harmless suggestion to Hannah Shaw.

Now, it’s her passion.

And it has landed her a spot with a Division I college program.

Shaw, a senior at Norwin, will continue her track and field career at Northeastern, a Colonial Athletic Association school in Boston.

“I started pole vaulting in seventh grade because I was a competitive gymnast and when joining track, they recommended me to pole vault,” Shaw said. “It worked out for the best, and by sophomore year, I decided it’s what I wanted to pursue in college.”

Shaw finished eighth at the WPIAL Class 3A championships last year with a height of 10 feet, 6 inches.

Her qualifying seed was 11-3.

“Hannah is a special athlete,” Norwin track coach Tim Van Horn said. “I believe that her gymnast background has helped play a role in her becoming one of the best vaulters in the state. She is one of our hardest workers and is constantly looking for ways to improve.

“She is one of our strongest athletes and has worked into being one of our fastest athletes as well.”

Shaw is the seventh Norwin track & field athlete to commit to a Division I program in five years.

“Hannah’s best jumps are definitely still ahead of her,” Van Horn said. “She has her eyes set on our school record and I believe she has the talent and the work ethic to break it.”

Shaw has a win and a runner-up so far during the current indoor season. She placed 15th at the indoor state meet last season.

Shaw also had an offer from Kent State, which was her second choice.

“I decided based off where I thought I’d be most successful academically,” she said, “as well as athletically.

“Northeastern is higher ranked for my major, architecture, and I felt as if I would compete well in their conference. When I did my visit, I felt as if I belonged there.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at


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