Learning the pole vault from a living legend

Cowley College student athletes were trained in the art of pole vaulting by Mark Phillips, known for major success in NJCAA and NCAA sports.

Having coached 57 NJCAA All-Americans, two national record holders and 11 national champions in the pole vault, Cowley College head track and field coach Mark Phillips is conducting a pole vault clinic for middle school and high school-aged students at the Travis Hafner Training Center in Arkansas City.

Phillips led the Cowley College men and women's track and field teams to a pair of top-25 national finishes during the indoor and outdoor seasons. He is USA Track & Field Level II certified in the jumps and has worked vault clinics at Kansas University, Wichita State, Johnson County Community College. As a vaulter and a coach, Phillips has been involved with the pole vault for more than 41 years.

The Northwest Missouri State University graduate also saw his share of success as a collegiate student-athlete. He was a pole vaulter/sprinter at Cloud County and Northwest. At Cloud, Phillips was a Region VI champion and a two-time national qualifier in the pole vault. At Northwest, he set school and Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association records while winning three conference championships in the pole vault and as a member of a school record and National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II national qualifying 4x100-meter relay team. He was a member of the 1982 MIAA conference championship team and qualified for two NCAA Division II national meets in the pole vault.

The pole vault clinic is designed to help beginning as well as experienced vaulters learn to vault safely and correctly using technique drills and routines. Participants were taught proper pole carry, run mechanics, plant timing, as well as take-off and bar clearance. There was also an emphasis on approach, plant and take-off. Pole selection and proper training were discussed, while video analysis was used to help participants learn.

Camp participants were, seated in the front row, from left, Jack Mull, Mattie Oxford, Kaylynn Henderson, Lakota Daily, Juju Eaton, and Brieanna Williams. And back row, from left, Keagan David, Kolby Caster, Arkansas City High School track and field head coach Matt Kmiec, Cowley head coach Mark Phillips, Chance Cook, Michael Vaught, and Spencer Dumontelle.

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