PIEDMONT – Like most coaches’ sons, Wil Mitchell developed the love of his father Mark Mitchell’s sport at an early age.
Wil Mitchell, now a senior at Piedmont High School, fell in love with the pole vault in the fifth grade. His hard work and determination has guided him to a scholarship with the University of Montevallo.
The younger Mitchell signed with the school on Thursday afternoon. He’s been a member of back-to-back state track and field championship teams in 2013-14 with the Bulldogs, and had a best jump of 12’3″ as a junior last season.
That was good enough for Falcon coach Tommy Barksdale to make Mitchell an offer to join the Falcon track and field program.
“He (Barksdale) called me on a Monday. I went up there on a Thursday, and he offered me during my unofficial visit,” Mitchell said. “Me and dad were kind of shocked. I feel like it’s a great opportunity for me.”
Mark Mitchell said his son has always had a great work ethic when it comes to track and field.
“Even if I wasn’t a coach, he would be doing this today,” the coach said. “I’ve never really had to self-motivate him. A lot of times I’ve had to make him go home. It’s something he’s wanted to do, something he’s worked at, and it’s a dream come true for him.
“He’s been going about a foot, a foot-and-a-half a year in the last two or three years. He’s finished third now two years in a row, and it’s a goal of his to work at it and to do the best he can. I’m really proud of him as a coach and a father.”
The younger Mitchell said Montevallo is a great place for him to continue to grow as a pole vaulter. He’s excited to take the next step in his track and field career.
“When he (Barksdale) took us around the facilities, they had a brand new track they’ve just finished. They’ve finished all of the stands, and the locker room will be done this spring. They have brand new equipment and have ways to get what we need to compete at the highest level. The track team is really going to grow. They’ve got great people working for them. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”