Scott Marshall is pretty laid back. Nothing seems to phase him. So, when he watched Grant Sisserson of Phoenix Horizon clear 16 feet, 8 inches at the Chandler Rotary Invitational two weeks ago, the Desert Vista senior wasn’t sweating it.

“I thought I could beat him,” Marshall said. “I knew I had more in me.”

Marshall cleared 16-8 on his second try, then, on his second attempt at 17 feet, where only two other Arizona high-school athletes in history have gone in a meet, he cleared it to win the Chandler Rotary pole-vault title.

And he did it in a cross wind.

“I just gave it my all,” he said.

Marshall has moved on from 15-7 to 16-foot poles with his mind set on bringing down Nick Hysong’s state record of 17-4 3/4, set in 1990 during the Great Southwest Classic, following the state meet his senior year at Tolleson.

Hysong went on to Olympic gold. He now coaches two of Marshall’s biggest foes — Sisserson and Phoenix Brophy Prep senior Cole Walsh. All three have cleared at least 16-6 this season, the first time in Arizona history that three vaulters have cleared that height in the same track and field season.

“We definitely think so,” Desert Vista pole-vault coach Jeff Guy said about Marshall’s chances of breaking the state record. “He went 17 feet on 15-7 poles. He jumped on 16-foot poles in a meet for the first time last week. He cleared 16-6 and went for 17 in a dual meet.

“We’re hoping for him to develop on the 16-foot poles, increase the stiffness in them. I think he’s going to have some great attempts.”

Desert Vista is a pole-vaulting factory under Guy.

Three former Desert Vista vaulters are among the top five in girls vaulting history in Arizona. Current Arizona State pole vaulter Shaylah Simpson set a girls state record three years ago with a vault of 13-4. That same year, Desert Vista’s Heather Arseneua vaulted 13 feet, the third-best in state history.

This year, Shaylah’s sister, Aliya, has the state’s best freshman vault at 11-7, and sophomore Vanessa Davis has the top sophomore vault at 12-6 1/4.

For the past five years, Guy has gotten about 40 vaulters out a season, mainly due to the vaulting tradition and the fact that Desert Vista has huge numbers come out each year for track and field.

Marshall has come a long way since last season when Chandler Basha star Garrett Starkey cleared 17 feet in a meet.

“I worked harder in the preseason,” Marshall said. “I think I’m more there mentally. Last year, I was kind of a head case.”

Marshall will be competing Saturday in the Arcadia (Calif.) Invitational.

He puts no limits on how big he can jump.

“I think I can do it,” Marshall said of breaking the state record. “It’s just a matter of putting it all together on one day.”


Marshall Vaulter Magazine
Marshall Vaulter Magazine

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