AKRON, Ohio – More than 300 athletes, parents, coaches and vendors attended The University of Akron track and field program’s inaugural Pole Vault Convention Friday and Saturday at Stile Athletics Field House.
Included in that group were close to 150 high school, collegiate, post-collegiate and master’s level athletes competing over the two days. Highlighting the competition for the Zips were freshman Shawn Barber, who won (18-00.50) the men’s Elite section – besting two-time U.S. national champion Mark Hollis and 2010 NCAA national champion Jordan Scott – and senior Chelsey Detwiler, who recorded the top jump (12-06.00) in the women’s Development section.
Adding to the festivities of Friday night’s Elite competition were 2004 U.S. Olympic Goal medalist Tim Mack and American record holder Jeff Hartwig, who provided commentary, and 2012 U.S. Olympic Gold medalist Jenn Suhr, who was in attendance to meet fans and sign autographs.
In addition to the competitions, the two-day convention featured workshops and seminars for athletes, coaches and parents. Many of the top vendors in the country – including UCS, Gill, Altius, Essx, MF Athletic, Richey Athletics, Oak Creek Athletics, Overspeed Apparel, VS Athletics, RentPoles.com – were also on hand to showcase their newest products.
The Pole Vault Convention is the vision of Zips’ head coach Dennis Mitchell, who has coached 64 All-American honors during his career, including All-Americans in the Pole Vault at the University of Texas, University of North Carolina, and Akron.
The 2013 season will officially begin for UA’s men’s and women’s track and field programs next Friday (Jan. 11) at the Eastern Michigan Scored Meet in Ypsilanti, Mich. The Zips’ men will be looking to capture their third consecutive Mid-American Conference Indoor title this winter while the women will look to regain their dominance over the league.
Both squads will officially open their home schedule the following weekend at Stile Athletics Field House with the annual Kent Dual versus local rival Kent State on Jan. 18.