Freshman Adam Bragg is a promising pole vaulter on the track team who finished as the runner-up in the Larry Ellis Invitational less than two weeks ago, bettering his previous personal record by about 10 cm to raise his mark to 5.06m.

Ahead of the Heptagonals this weekend, the ‘Prince’ talked to Bragg about samurai swords, Hannah Montana and the athlete’s burden of dealing with a phenomenon that can perhaps best be described as the flocking of chicks.

Q: What is your role on the track team?

A: I’m a pole vaulter, and you know pole vaulters have the reputation of being the guys who goof around and have a lot of fun, but after we get work done we’re the goofballs on the team. We’ll have [senior] Dave Slovenski riding the unicycle around, throwing the football around, just having a good time really. We’re the fun ones.

Q: What are some of your athletic accomplishments?

A: For pole vaulting, I just cleared a PR of 5.06m, which is like a 16-foot-7.5-inch, so that puts me in good standing for Heps. I can throw a dodgeball pretty fast, and I competed in trampoline internationally as well.

Q: Who is your favourite professional athletic role model?

A: Definitely Kenny Powers [from HBO’s “Eastbound and Down”]. He’s a TV character — a washed up baseball player who plays in different Mexican leagues. He’s played by Danny McBride, and in the show he’s always the come-from-behind guy, and that always inspires me.

Q: How did you start competing on the pole vault?

A: I actually did trampoline, competed internationally, and then I realized that trampoline wasn’t a collegiate sport, so you know … the good looks and the grades are only going to get me so far.

Q: How high do you get, and what is it like up there?

A: I jump a 16-foot-7.5-inch. It’s pretty fun actually — I think everyone should experience it one time in their life, you know, trying to jump 16.5 feet. Coming down and you’re looking over the box and it’s like you’re flying over it.

Q: Who is your quirkiest teammate?

A: Probably Dave Slovenski. He’s the captain, the pole vaulter, he has the world record in the unicycle pole vault, and he’s just ridiculous. He goes off and does some crazy things. He climbs up ropes upside down, and I’m always trying these things because he’s jumping higher and these must help, right?  So that’s probably the guy.

Q: What is the best thing about being an athlete on campus?

A: Definitely getting all the chicks, because chicks love athletes.

Q: What is the worst thing about being an athlete on campus?

A: Being so wanted by chicks — it’s hard to throw them off sometimes. Girls, you know, “Athletes! Athletes!” You need to go study sometimes.

Q: Do you have any pre-meet rituals?

A: I like to go into my quiet place, really focus on the meet, focus on the things that I need to do. After the meet, if it’s a good meet, the post-meet rituals are definitely a lot more fun.

Q: What are some of the track team’s traditions?

A: There are some good ones. We have a pretty intense rivalry with Cornell, and this year we’re going up to Heps and they’re our main competition. I just got a samurai sword for my birthday, and we’re planning on making Cornell characters, we have a Cornell shirt, and we’re just doing some sacrifices — samurai style. Hopefully that’ll become a good tradition.

Q: How do you think the team is going to do at Heps?

A: We’re going to win it, no doubt. Cornell is a close favorite, but we’re definitely a lot cooler and a lot better looking than Cornell’s team.

Q: I hear you’re in DiSiac. Do you incorporate poles into your dance routines?

A: [Laughs] You know, I’ve thought about bringing it up a couple of times, but I think I’d want to bring it up to do an all-girls piece because DiSiac has the hottest girls on campus and to see them incorporate something from my sport would be a fun thing to watch.

Q: If you could possess any superpower, what would it be?

A: There are so many of them out there. We talk about some of these things so many times at practice. Someone would say flying, someone would say X-ray vision … probably being able to breathe underwater for a pretty long time, because it worked for Michael Phelps, and the girls — I don’t know why — but they all love him.

Q: What has been your favorite class at Princeton?

A: It’s probably my econ class, micro [ECO 100: Introduction to Microeconomics], because a couple of my buddies were in a frat that ran across and went streaking, and I got to see my buddies at their finest.

Q: “Jump” by Van Halen, “Touch the Sky” by Kanye or “Jump Around” by House of Pain?

A: Definitely “Jump Around,” because I’m an old-school guy and that beat just gets inside — can’t stop me, DiSiac all the way.

Q: What is the most embarrassing song on your iPod?

A: Probably “The Climb” by Hannah Montana. It’s just so inspirational sometimes, you know — sit back and listen to it right before a meet, get pumped up, clear your nervous energy out. [Starts singing] “It’s the Climb.”

Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not pole-vaulting?

A: Long walks in the park, you know, reading poetry, sitting back in a room smelling of rich mahogany.


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Adam Bragg

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