DOWNS — Being a proponent of sportsmanship and the polar opposite of a trash talker has not prevented Adam Coulon from reaping all manner of athletic benefits.

The latest sign that being a friend to foes is no impediment came when the Tri-Valley High School pole vaulter announced he will sign a national letter of intent on Wednesday to accept a partial scholarship from Indiana University.

Tri-Valley coach Todd Schneider has seen Coulon cheer for and help advise fellow vaulters for years.

“I think sometimes if they do better, then that raises his game a little bit, too,” said Schneider, whose star won the 2013 Class 1A state title as a freshman, sat out 2014 with a knee injury before placing second last spring.

In 2013, Coulon cleared 16 feet, 2 inches, third-best in Pantagraph area history. He topped out at 16-0 last season.

“When you talk to him, he is about as laid back and nice a person as there is,” Schneider said. “When it comes to competing, he’s about the most competitive person I’ve ever met.”

At practice, Coulon helps teammates any way he can.

“The year he had to sit because he was injured, he coached Derek Wegman (to a 1A high jump title) more than I did,” Schneider said. “Derek listened to him. He’s really a great guy to have on the team.”

Coulon learned to pole vault at age 9 from his father, Tom, who was a state high school indoor and outdoor champion in Ohio and cleared 14-6 for Bowling Green State University.

In 2011, Coulon raised the age-13 world record twice with clearances at 14-2 and 14-3¼. He has competed for Normal-based Flying Dragons Pole Vault Club since 2008.

“He’s strong. He’s big. He’s fast,” said Flying Dragons coach Mike Cockerham. “Going to Indiana, he’s going to be challenged. There are a lot of good vaulters in the Big Ten right now.”

Coulon visited Indiana last month and saw a lot to like after also considering Memphis, Missouri and Illinois State.

“It’s in the Midwest and has the same kind of weather as at home,” said Coulon, who plans to study the science of computer information systems known as informatics.

“They have a good program for that. I loved the coach. Everyone was really friendly. It was one of those perfect fits. As soon as you get on the campus and meet everyone, you just know it’s the right place.”
Indiana’s vault coach is Jake Wiseman, who has guided 11 All-Americans and five Big Ten Conference champions the past 10 years.
“He was super nice, but he was also very motivating and pushes the athletes really hard, which is what I liked,” Coulon said. 

Coulon underwent knee surgery on Thursday, but is expected to return for his third year of varsity basketball.

“I think in four weeks I should be released,” he said.

As for his next track season’s goals, Coulon is taking a low key approach.

“Senior year is a lot about having fun,” he said. “If we can jump big bars, that would be great, but it’s kind of that no-pressure year for the first time.

“Every year you always have something to prove. This year is finally the year that I don’t. I’ll just jump for fun so that will be nice.”



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