ALVARADO — Alvarado graduate and current Air Force Academy freshman, Dylan Bell, was named the Mountain West Men’s Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week on Jan. 22.
The former Alvarado Indian has competed in only a few meets as a collegiate athlete and has already won a top honor after his career-best pole vault of 17-feet, 4 1/2 inches at the National Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nev., on Jan. 19.
“It is a great honor, especially as a doolie [freshman at USAFA],” Bell said. “I know numerous older athletes that have yet to receive recognition like this.”
His vault, a personal improvement of eight inches, matched the best height of the day at the Summit and it is the fifth-best clearance in Air Force Academy history.
Bell’s vault is currently ranked second in the Mountain West Conference and tied for the sixth-best height of the season throughout all of the NCAA.
While Bell has experienced success early in his collegiate career, he said he is still adjusting to life at the Academy.
“Freshman year as a whole is not all that fun for anyone who goes to a service academy,” he said. “However, I have had a lot of really cool and fun experiences with my teammates, such as cliff jumping. I like it here.”
As a member of the Alvarado track and field team, he represented the Indians with a state championship in pole vaulting in 2012 and was the state runner-up in 2011 at the 3A level.
He was ranked second overall nationally in his senior season at Alvarado and also broke the Alvarado High School pole vaulting school record by an entire foot. He also graduated in the top three percent of his class last year.
Bell’s goals for his collegiate career are already lofty, even during his freshman season.
“I would really like to [clear] 18 feet,” he said. “Also, I hope to go to both the indoor and outdoor NCAA national championships.”
It is the second consecutive week in which an Air Force vaulter has earned the weekly conference honor.
The Falcons hosted the 23rd annual Air Force Invitational at the Academy’s Cadet Field House Indoor Track on Friday and Saturday.