Jan. 7, 2004
By Josh Magill
CARBONDALE, Ill. - It's not brute strength that helps him over the crossbar, it's technique. It's not speed that launches him into the air, but determination.
His goal is to be the underdog that surprises everyone with his form - the guy nobody suspects.
His goal is to be the best.
To reach his goals he must watch the best, learn from the best and compete against the best in the country. That's what Saluki pole vaulter Ray Scotten plans to do this weekend when he attends the 2004 National Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nevada.
"I pride myself on being a very sound technique vaulter, but there's always things that I can learn," Scotten said. "There is going to be so much talent there and people that have great technique. The big time, world class vaulters are going to be there, so it will be a great experience to look for new drills I can do."
Southern Illinois University head men's track and field coach Cameron Wright says the pole vault summit is a place Scotten deserves to be after his success last season when the sophomore qualified and competed in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Meet.
"It's an opportunity for him to go there, compete against the best kids in the country and get that experience again," Wright said. "Hopefully, at the end of the year, he will be competing against them again."
"As many times as we can compete against the best, we want to compete against the best," Wright added. "We want to win championships. We definitely want to win a national championship with Ray, so we have to compete against those kinds of guys."
So is Scotten excited? Of course. He is somewhat of an adrenaline vaulter.
"I'm a big meet vaulter," Scotten proclaims. "I don't do well without that other stranger watching, that other person to impress. Competition raises my level. When I get my adrenaline going, I'm hard to tame. I get a little crazy on the runway."
Complete results of the 2004 Pole Vault Summit can be found at www.polevaultsummit.com. Scotten is scheduled to compete in the highest collegiate round on Friday at 10 p.m., CST. His results can be found at www.SIUSalukis.com.