CHARLES TOWN – Roland Rush has spent a summer vaulting for some acknowledgment.

The recent graduate of Washington has been winning quite a bit, too, which has helped him gain recognition that should reward him with a college scholarship.

He’ll take one more step on Sunday morning when he competes in the U.S. Track and Field Association’s Junior Olympics at Morgan State in Baltimore.

A winner of a five-state regional held at Cedarville, Ohio, the former state champion pole vaulter will be flying upward in search of a vault of 16 feet, 6 inches – the height he thinks will win.

Rush, who no-heighted as a senior at the 2012 West Virginia state meet after winning the competition a year earlier, cleared 15 feet in regional competition. In other regional competition, a scan of the competitors shows one who reached 16-3.5, a handful who tied in another meet at 15-7 and someone else somewhere else at 15-5.

Those others might or might not compete. Rush really won’t know until the competition begins.

“And who is having a bad day and what not,” Rush said. “There’s a lot of possibilities.

“It should be a good meet; everybody will be pushing each other.”

Rush and his coach, Tim Smith, are confident.

“I think he’s going to do well,” Smith said. “(Thursday), he had an excellent practice and is ready to go.”

Rush also qualified for the national AAU finals in Houston, but he won’t be attending that competition.

“I guess I’m doing pretty well,” Rush said.

Well enough that Wheeling Jesuit got attracted and Rush made a commitment.

“I wanted this kid to get notoriety, because he is an excellent pole vaulter,” Smith said. “I told his parents when I first saw him four years ago, he would be pretty special, would be a state champion, would be competing in college and could be an Olympian if he worked at it.

“All my summer was spent to get him a scholarship.”

Smith said Rush is reaching nearly 17 feet in practice.

Rush is nervous up there.

“It’s the way I’m finishing and trying to get so I trust the pole,” Rush said. “I’m starting to get the pole more vertical and my body more vertical and trying to get off the pole vertical. It’s more daunting, because you feel like you’re going to fall straight down. It’s a fear-factor thing..”

By Rick Kozlowski



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