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By Dave Hunter (July 30, 2017)
 
In the wide-sweeping mosaic of collegiate track & field, there definitely are recognized pockets of event excellence. When you think about high jump proficiency, you think of Cliff Rovelto's program at Kansas State. The 400 meters? Well, Baylor's Clyde Hart and his one-lap thoroughbreds led by Michael Johnson and Jeremy Wariner certainly come to mind. Top flight hurdling encourages many to reflect upon South Carolina's Curtis Frye and his prodigies Lashinda Demus and Terrence Trammell. And terrific sprinting and horizontal jumping immediately prompt thoughts of Florida's Mike "Mouse" Holloway and his legion of dash men and sky pilots at the University of Flight.
 
Well there may be a new university poised to join this fraternity of event excellence. The University of Akron - with 5 NCAA pole vault championships since 2014 - is making quite a name for itself in this vertical jump and is increasingly being recognized as an incubator of collegiate pole vault superiority. Canadian Olympian Shawn Barber kicked off the current streak when he captured the 2014 NCAA indoor vault crown. German athlete Annika Roloff followed suit for the Zips when she was victorious in the 2014 NCAA outdoor championship vault. Barber kept it rolling in 2015 - his storybook year - when he successfully defended his NCAA indoor title, captured its outdoor vault crown, and later won the world championship pole vault gold medal in Beijing.
Published in Track & Field