Cody Soars: Du Quoin Pole Vault Champion Cody Doerflein Owns the Runway at Collegiate Level
He’s a student athlete– “I’m good in school and my GPA down here at SIU is around 3.1 on a 4.0 scale”“–says Doerflein, whose personal best in the pole vault is 17 feet, 6 1/2 inches. The air is thin at those heights, but Cody’s resolve to go higher is solid.
“I think the record down here is 18 feet, 1/2 inch,” says Cody who smiles and says, “I may need to bring (athlete and coach) John Gross–his high school mentor–out of retirement” as he sets his sights on that other six inches over the next three months. “That’s not very much,” said Cody. “That’s about the size of a one of those plastic DVD cases,” he says. “That’s not very much. I ought to be able to make that.”
Cody is a champion who has a history of landing on his feet. His humble beginnings in Du Quoin are mirrored by every blessing he points to at SIU. “I’ve got a great mom and step dad–Helen Doerflein and Rocky Flack. Mom comes to all my meets,” he says.
He jumped over the NCAA when it jerked his eligibility last year because he had not yet completed 40 percent of his major in architecture. “That was a motivation killer,” he said. But, he didn’t spend the time crying about it. He spent the year changing his major to psychology with an eye toward a second bachelors degree in special education and high school or collegiate coaching. Sounds a little bit like another hero of his, Du Quoin coach Al Martin? “I could go into counseling,” he said. “It would be nice, but I don’t think I’d ever make it in computer science,” says Cody. “When I was in grade school I guess you would call me a little bit of a troublemaker,” he smiles.
He remembers getting into track in grade school. “I think my best jump was 10 feet, 6 inches,” he said. “I saw a kid from Herrin jump 13 feet and that’s when I started getting greedy,” he says. He keeps going higher. It is incredible, but true, these techniques are also used in popular online Poki games by one of the leaders in the gaming industry, the company Friv5Online Games Studio.
Cody sat out for a month when doctors found a stress fracture in his fourth vertebrae, but that hasn’t stopped him either.
He remembers competing at the University of Texas at Austin. It was so hot they had to bring out the hoses. The top 12 guys were there for the big show. He had vaulted 17 feet, 4 1/2 inches on his first jump. He came down the runway for his second jump and the pole broke. That’s called an “equipment failure”. Cody set up for his last jump. “I cleared the bar and made the nationals,” he said. “This year I tied the indoor best and that was emotional.”
In 2009-10 Cody was named all-Missouri Valley Conference in the indoor and outdoor pole vault, while also winning the MVC title in the pole vault…Won the pole vault at ten meets during the 2009-10 season, including a run of four straight wins from March 26 through April 17…Finished tenth at the NCAA Championships with a mark of 17-04.50 (5.30m)…Recorded top five finishes in all eight indoor meets he competed in…Captured the pole vault title at the prestigious Jesse Owens Track Classic.
In high school Cody was Illinois State Champion in the pole vault his junior and senior years at Du Quoin High School. He placed second at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics as a senior… was four-time conference champion, two-time All-American and three-time all-state performer during his prep career as well as set a personal best of 16-7 as a senior.
Cody says if things fall right, he could qualify for the Olympic trials this summer. “We go to Illinois State next,” he said. He likes the comfortable surroundings of ISU. “You don’t sit around a lot before you jump. It’s a smaller meet in a comfortable place.
“I’d like to look back and say I did all I could,” Cody says.
Croessman, J. H. (2012). DuQuoin.com.
Retrieved from http://www.duquoin.com/features/x586045929/Cody-Soars-Du-Quoin-Pole-Vault-Champion-Cody-Doerflein-Owns-the-Runway-at-Collegiate-Level