Who knew that a simple bet with an old high school friend would turn into such a big thing in my life? It was a bet the introduced me to pole vault, I had been a track and field athlete for years beforehand, jumps and sprints—but it was my sophomore year in high school that I began pole vaulting. Turns out I had a knack for it. Three high school seasons as a pole vaulter; three district championships, two State Championship podium appearances and a school record that still stands today.
Unfortunately, my high marks did not attract attention from any college recruiters, but I would not give up. My dorm at Washington State University was directly across the street from the Track & Field Facility, The WSU Track team had placed 2nd in the NCAA Team OUTDOOR Championships the year before and placed 2nd on three other occasions in the last 6 years. I would often find myself walking around the track during my free time. After only two weeks at WSU, I found some courage and walked into the offices and asked if I could be part of the team. On that day I was officially welcomed as a ‘walk on pole vaulter.’
I would go on to place 3rd in Pole Vault at the Pacific 10 Conference Championships in 1993 my sophomore year with a personal best of 17’3/4”. It was at this point I earned my scholarship, the hard way! Unfortunately, due to some lagging injuries, I was unable to improve on that jump. However, I was able to consistently represent Washington State University, scoring points at every conference championship completion for the remainder of my time at WSU.
My pole vault career ended with my last competition, the 1996 Conference Championship meet at UCLA where I placed 5th with a final jump of 16’10 1/2’. I am still in the top 10 pole vaulters all time to compete for Washington State University. With my athletic career over I moved on but never lost the passion. After college, I wanted to stay in sport coaching, but I was never able to open those doors. I have spent many years teaching gymnastics to kids, coaching other sports for my own kids, always involved in sports or athletics in some sort. Today I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to be involved in pole vaulting again.
Through marriage and friendship, my wonderful wife Veronica and I have been together for nearly 15 years. Our 2 children are full of energy and both love sports, Zoe (12) has a passion for volleyball and Matthew (10), like most boys from TX – plays football daily. Secretly I hope the both find a passion for pole vaulting!