Monday, January 30, 2012

Intro and Current Status

Hi all, my name is Levi Keller and I am a US pole vaulter. I don't want to start this story in the middle so I will give you some brief background information and catch you up to the present.

My track career started turning into something serious during high school in Winnemucca, NV when I was primarily a high jumper. I had decent marks in the jumps and expressed interest in the decathlon, which is what caught the attention of Dave Nielsen at Idaho State. This is where my pole vaulting journey begins: I had to learn the vault, among other things, to do the decathlon. So I started pole vaulting my senior year in 2004 and performed terribly, only managing to straight pole 11'6". I decided to switch back to long jump before the state meet and wait until college to pole vault again.

College track was like a universe from another dimension. I was getting beat all the time and felt extremely slow in comparison to the other guys, but I also discovered I was a natural in the vault. With Dave Nielsen's coaching and a better pole selection my progress kicked into overdrive. I cleared 15'3" as a freshman and finished my college career with a vault PR of 17'3" (high jump 6'9" and decathlon 7008).

Since college I have continued training with the plan of competing at the 2012 Olympic Trials. My wife Lois has supported me the entire way and has shared in this dream of competing at the trials (in the 3000m steeplechase. We moved to Seattle, WA about a year ago to take advantage of the training conditions, awesome meets, and close airport. Since then both of us have made notable progress and are edging ever closer to our goals.

As for current news, I have been training at the University of Washington with Scott Roth, Jason Colwick, Ryan Brown, Scott McCoy, Ryan Vu, Carly Dockendorf, and Norris Frederick under the supervision of Pat Licari. My training has been going really well this year, with hardly any injuries and substantial improvements in speed and technique. I have been getting on big poles and putting jumps up pretty high, but without the bars show it. This last weekend at the UW Invitational wasn't any different. Started out with a great warm-up and got onto my big poles early, but then failed to make my opening bar of 5.16m or 16'11". Had a high but shallow first jump, blow through on the 2nd, went up a pole to the 5m 13.5 and ended up shallow again. 

(sigh)...fate is only delaying the inevitable, I will jump high and I will make it to the trials.
To all of my fellow vaulters and friends out there, good luck in 2012!