Vaulter Colwick soars to second at nationals
The night of March 12 in Fayetteville, Ark., was unfortunately the second leg in a tale of two cities for senior pole vaulter Jason Colwick. After being bested by Scott Roth of the University of Washington at the Reno Pole Vault Summit at the end of January, Colwick was once again topped by the owner of the highest vault by an American in 2010, this time at the NCAA National Indoor Championships. Colwick's top vault going into the meet was 5.67 meters, while Roth's was 5.72 meters, making Roth the clear favorite. Despite having five competitors in the field who had all previously cleared above 5.48 meters (18 feet), Head Coach Jon Warren (Jones '88) felt confident Roth and Colwick would be alone in their pursuit for first place.
"Scott was the favorite because he had the number one mark going in at 5.72," Warren said. "He had probably jumped a little more consistently than Jason during the year, but you're literally playing with centimeters. But we knew it was going to come down to those two."
Warren's prediction was right on the mark. Colwick decided not to enter the vaulting until the bar had been raised to 5.50 meters, a comfortable height for him to clear. At this point, only Roth and Jeffrey Coover of Indiana University remained to compete with Colwick. Coover bowed out after passing on 5.50 meters and then subsequently failing to clear 5.55 meters, leaving Roth and Colwick to tango alone.
Colwick chose to let Roth vault alone, passing up on 5.55 and 5.60 meters. After two near-misses, Roth managed to clear 5.60 meters on his third try, putting an exorbitant amount of pressure to come through in the clutch and clear 5.65 meters. Roth passed on this height to put Colwick on the spot. After missing his first attempt, Colwick decided to pass on this height, saving his two remaining tries for 5.70 meters. Roth missed on his first attempt at the final height, and Colwick missed both of his attempts, going under the bar on his last vault. As a result, Roth was crowned national champion, leaving Jason in second place.
After being crowned national champion last year, it is understandable for Colwick to be unsatisfied with his finish in Fayetteville, as Warren pointed out.
"He's disappointed in not winning," Warren said. "When Jason got here, if you had told me he would have gotten second in the nation one time, I would have been happy with that. But it's so unusual to get second and be disappointed, because second in the nation is just such an outstanding achievement. But he went in with the hope and expectation of winning again."
Rice will supply a couple of competitors at the Texas Southern University Relays this weekend, before gearing up for its first major home meet of the year, the Victor Lopez Classic next Friday and Saturday.
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