Former Kansas University pole vaulter Jordan Scott, who had a Jayhawk painted on the back of his head for the 2011 Kansas Relays and the Relays logo etched onto his skull last year, used his mohawk hair-do Friday to honor a city 1,500 miles from Lawrence.
“I had to say ‘Boston Strong’ with the colors from the Boston Marathon just for my own special tribute to the people who died and the people who were injured (following explosions at Monday’s Boston Marathon),” Scott said Friday after failing to clear a height in the 2013 Relays pole vault, won by Oral Roberts senior/NCAA champion Jack Whitt.
“My heart goes out to all of them — the friends and families. I just wanted to support them the best I could,” added Scott, who had ‘Boston Strong’ dyed on each side of his head. “Just to think I contributed some kind of glory. It doesn’t really make any sense, but I wanted to jump as well as I could in this (cold, windy) weather. It wasn’t my day.”
The day belonged to Whitt, who won with a height of 17 feet, 51⁄2 inches, ahead of KU’s Alex Bishop and Jake Albright, who were second and third in 17-11⁄2 and 16-71⁄2 respectively.
“What happened in Boston is definitely a tragedy. I commend him (Scott) for doing that. It shows a lot of support for them (in Boston),” Whitt said.
He and 2011 KU graduate Scott likely will compete against each other many, many times in the future.
Scott, the recent winner at the USA Track and Field Indoor Championships in New Mexico with a leap of 18-41⁄4, says he’d like to be a factor in the next three Olympic Games. Scott last year was one of five vaulters trying for three spots on the U.S. Olympic team after recording the Olympic A standard.
“I didn’t clear a bar in the Olympic Trials, either,” Scott said. “One of the two no-heights I’ve had total in the last two years were at that meet and this meet. I hope to be doing this as long as I can, as long as my body holds up, which it feels great right now.”
Scott, who is originally from Watkinsville, Ga, but lives and trains in Lawrence, will complete his master’s degree in sports management in May.
“I think with my vaulting, it’s going to be really hard to have a job that requires a master’s degree, with all the hours you have to put into those jobs,” Scott said. “I’ll probably just get a part-time job wherever I can.”
Scott will compete at the Drake Relays next week, then pro meets in Tokyo and Beijing. Whitt soon will be trying for a second consecutive NCAA title.
Bergmann a winner: KU senior Heather Bergmann won the Relays javelin for the second straight year with a throw of 163-7. She bested Baker’s Stephanie Nelson, who finished in 155-2.
“You come in every meet wanting to beat your personal best, and I didn’t do that. But at the same time, I had really good form and technique, and that is really important going into the Big 12, which is in two weeks,” Concordia native Bergmann said. “I think that, as far as the technique, by the final throw I had gotten it down, and it was really consistent.
“When it is cold,” she added, “you have to always be moving and it wears your body out to try to keep warm. The wind was a bit disadvantageous, but it wasn’t as much of a factor with regards to my performance. You always want warm weather but can settle for the cold.”
Top performances: KU’s men’s distance medley team of Reid Buchanan, Dominique Manley, Brendan Soucie and Josh Munsch won in a time of 10:12.96. The KU women’s distance medley squad of Hannah Richardson, Taylor Washington, Rhavean King and Natalie Becker won in 11:59.52. The men’s 4-mile relay team of Josh Baden, Colin Jokisch, James Wilson and Evan Landes was second in 17:34:64.
Today’s events: Leo Manzano, silver medalist in the 1,500 in the 2012 Olympics, and several others in a strong field, will try to break Jim Ryun’s 36-year-old Relays mile record at 4:25 p.m. today in Memorial Stadium. … Olympic gold medalist Jenn Suhr, Track and Field News’ world indoor athlete of the year, will compete in the women’s pole vault at 2 p.m.; Relays fan favorite Bershawn “Batman” Jackson is slated to run in the 400 hurdles at 3:40 p.m.