UNM Vaulters Travel To Reno For Clinic and Competition
Six University of New Mexico pole vaulters will travel to Reno, Nev. this weekend for the 2003 USATF Pole Vault Summit at the Bill Cosby Indoor Track Facility. The two-day event will give the athletes in attendance a chance to refine their pole vaulting skills in both a clinical and competitive setting. Several current and former Olympic coaches will be on hand to help conduct the event, which gets underway with lectures and training on Friday, Jan. 17, and concludes with the collegiate competitions on Saturday, Jan. 18.
Assistant track coach Scott Steffan will take three men and three women from his young vault crew, including four newcomers. Sophomores Amber Nolte, Jenna Roth and Bridgid Isworth will represent the Lobo women. Nolte stepped in as a true freshman to give New Mexico a legitimate conference threat last spring. She recorded the team’s top-five marks in the event, including a season-best mark of 12 feet, and finished among the top-three in five of her six pole vault competitions during the outdoor season. Nolte also made her mark on the UNM record book during the indoor season, breaking the school record with a vault of 11-11.75. This spring, she and Isworth, a transfer from the University of Melbourne in Australia, will form a potent duo in the event. The 5-7 Isworth took home a bronze medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and owns a personal-best of 14-1.25 in the event, well over the NCAA indoor automatic qualifying standard of 13-9.25.
Three newcomers to the men’s squad in Branden Bennett, Chris Ashcraft and Rodney Hocker will also make trip. Bennett, a junior transfer from Paradise Valley Community College in Arizona, has cleared 17 feet in the event and will be the Lobos’ most experience vaulter this season. Ashcraft, the younger brother of UNM men’s basketball player Ryan Ashcraft, captured the New Mexico state pole vault title last spring while competing for La Cueva (Albuquerque) High School. Hocker, a fellow true freshman, has a tremendous future as a decathlete, but was also the Colorado state runner-up in the pole vault as a junior at Ignacio High School.
The rest of the UNM men and women kick off the 2003 indoor season next weekend, Jan. 24-25, at the annual Air Force Invitational meet in Colorado Springs, Colo. Results of this Saturday’s men’s and women’s competitions at the Pole Vault Summit can be found at www.polevaultsummit.com. w