The Incredible Vault - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

The Incredible Vault

By Coleman Swierc - bio | email

JACKSONVILLE, TEXAS (KLTV) -  For Colton Ross, pole vaulting is life.

"I started when I was in junior high, and real quick, I realized that I was going to be ok."

For years, he hass driven from Grand Saline to Jacksonville, to see Carl Erickson.

"I like to think that I know a little about vaulting," said Erickson, owner of Altius Poles in Jacksonville, and former college pole vaulting coach, "I am really one of the few older guys around that have any experience."

"He is great," said Ross, "He knows how to get the best out of us, and the best out of me."

Behind Erickson, Ross has become the top high school pole vaulter in the state, and for a time, held the highest vault in the country

"I cleared 16 feet, so then we moved to 16.5, cleared that," said Ross, of his performance at a recent track meet in Gladewater, "After that, I said, 'we are going to jump 17 feet today, and we did.'"
Of course, hurling yourself 17 feet in the air isn't easy, only a select few, even try.

"Psychcatrists say that they are thrill seekers," said Erickson, "These guys are going up against danger and winning."

"You have to be crazy to do this," joked Ross, "The ones with no brains and the ones who don't think, end up jumping the highest."

And going high is what its all about, for Ross, it could mean the highest level.

"It is a lifelong goal for me, the possibility of going to the Olympic trials is something I have always dreamed of."

For now, only one thing matters.

"I don't dwell on the fact that I am one of the best in the nation, I try to stay focused, and know that I can do better."

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