The personable Sonora High graduate has had quite a career.
He was the World Indoor silver medalist in 2001, and at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2004 he just missed one of three Olympic berths in one of the most dramatic men's pole vault events ever. His personal best is 19 feet, 5½ inches. This could be his last year.
Q: Last year, you cleared 18 feet, 2½ inches but weren't ranked in U.S. Top 10 by Track & Field News. What's your outlook this year? What do you feel you're capable of? I just don't know, to be honest.
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A: That's the big question. I'm capable of making the Olympic team on a good day. That's not much different than anybody else. Everything has to line up for me. I'm old (33). It's the end of my sports career, but I'd like to give it one more shot.
Q: What are you ready to clear in Modesto?
A: Eighteen feet would be appropriate, something like that.
Q: You had that tough break at the 2004 Olympic Trials, clearing 19-¼ yet not making the Olympic team.
A: First guy in history to make 19 (feet) on the first attempt at the Trials and not make the Olympic team.
Q: Has coming that close kept you going so you get another shot at making the Olympic team?
A: Not really. What keeps me going is the journey, just enjoying what I'm doing with pole vaulting. I'm reluctant to (move on) because I love what I'm doing so much.
Q: Do those 2004 Trials haunt you at all?
A: Anybody who comes that close to making the Olympic team, you get depressed after the Trials for those next two months. It's a crusher. It hurts your heart, but you get over it, like everything else.
Q: How long do you plan to keep competing?
A: I'll probably retire after this year.
Q: What do you want to do after your competitive days are over?
A: There's a world of opportunity. There are so many directions I could go. I'm going to leave that up to the universe to decide. As things approach me, I'll know — I think — when the time is right.