HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point University track & field assistant coach and 2016 Rio hopeful Scott Houston took a big step towards qualifying for the Olympic Games with an outstanding performance at the Vault In The Ville event this past weekend.
Houston set a new personal best with a PR of 5.70m (18-8.25) to win the competition and reach the Olympic standard needed to compete in the upcoming games. With the standard met, Houston can qualify for Rio with a top-3 finish at the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials July 2 in Eugene, Ore.
If Houston finishes outside the top-3, but none of the top-3 finishers has hit the standard leading up to the competition, he can still advance to Rio with a strong performance.
Houston ranks t-3rd in the United States and top-15 in the world in the event heading into next month’s Olympic Trials.
“The feeling was insane,” Houston said of his Louisville standard clearance. “I was second in the competition heading to the 5.65m bar and to come down and make that on the first attempt, then make 5.70m on the first try was incredible. I knew I could do it, but I really was putting things together well that day. Having the standard changes my mindset. I’m really excited to have it, because I don’t have to worry about it anymore, but at the end of the day, it’s just part of the process.”
Houston has two more competitions to hone his skills before heading to Eugene for the Olympic Trials in July. He will vault at Emory University in Atlanta on Saturday, June 11, and will compete at KMR Athletics in Rock Hill, S.C., on June 18.
“Moving forward, I need to stay healthy and continue getting faster and more confident heading into my jumps,” Houston said. “My training has prepared me well to this point and should set me up to jump consistently at 5.65m and 5.70m and hopefully 5.75m and 5.80m to be competitive at the Olympic level.”
In addition to Houston, HPU seniors Austin Miller and Jill Marois also competed in Louisville and put together solid performances. Miller cleared 5.21m (17-1), marking the third best vault of his career, while Marois posted her second-best mark with a height of 4.15m (13-7.25). Both athletes will now take a couple months off before returning to HPU in the fall to continue their post-collegiate vault training.