Athlete of the Week: Colton Sorensen
Colton Sorensen, a junior pole vaulter from Balsam Lake, Wisconsin, took home first place honors with a vault of 4.46 meters (14 feet, 7.5 inches) in the men’s pole vault at the Wartburg Indoor Select on Feb. 4. His vault of 4.80 meters (15 feet, 9 inches) at the Chuck Peterson open in December currently ranks No. 12 overall in the country in qualifying heights and fourth in the WIAC.
The Student Voice sat down with Sorenson to discuss his indoor season goals and his time as a pole vaulter at UW-River Falls.
Q: When did you first start pole vaulting? Did you compete in other events in high school?
A: I started in seventh grade and I did hurdles, long jump and high jump in high school.
Q: What made you want to focus on vaulting once you got to River Falls?
A: I was pretty good at it, and it’s a fun event.
Q: What kind of thrill do you get from the event? What makes it so different from most other field events?
A: It’s thrilling going up that high in the air. There’s a ton of technique in it so it just depends on the day if you’re gonna be good or not, which makes it hard.
Q: What are the most complicated and technical parts of the event?
A: For me, the hardest part is the runway and leaving the ground and planting. Once you get off the ground, it’s pretty easy.
Q: What changes from competing in the indoor versus outdoor season?
A: Outdoor the only factor is the wind, and that can either help you or hurt you. If there’s a tailwind it’s nice because you can get on bigger poles, but if it’s a cross wind it’s difficult because the wind blows your pole while you’re running, and a headwind is just not fun.
Q: Is it easier to be consistent indoors without as many outside factors?
A: It’s still kind of here and there because I’m very inconsistent. When I’m good I’m good and when I’m bad I’m bad. Most people are pretty consistent at a height as I’m consistent at making 15 feet. Most people have a consistent height they make but getting over that is the question.
Q: What went so well at MSU-Mankato to jump a personal best 4.80 meters?
A: I just felt good and wasn’t sore, which is one of the biggest things for me when I’m running fast.
Q: As a junior, do you see yourself as a mentor to the younger vaulters?
A: The younger guys look up to me because they want to get better. Most of them are 11-foot vaulters right now so it’s a pretty big gap in heights right now between 11 feet or 15 feet.
Q: How much has this team grown this season?
A: Everyone’s getting better and definitely improving, but there’s still a lot of things to work on. It’s hard to adapt to college vaulting because pretty much everything you know from high school you throw away and start over with in pole vaulting.
Q: What kind of expectations do you have for your team in the WIAC Indoor Meet?
A: I would really like us to not get last place as a team. If a lot of the athletes podium in events they potentially can, I think we can do something as a team.
Q: What personal goals do you have to improve upon for the rest of the indoor season?
A: A personal goal is to qualify for nationals again. I really want to hit 5 meters, which is about 4 inches above my PR [personal record]. I qualified for nationals my freshman year with a height of 4.92, which is only 14 centimeters above what I did in December. It all just depends because on Monday night in practice I was getting well over 16 feet but was just hitting the bar. Everything’s got to align because there’s a lot of factors that go into if you make it or not.