Athlete of the week: Colton Sorensen
Kathy Helgeson/UWRF Communications
Colton Sorensen, a senior pole vaulter from Balsam Lake, Wis., qualified for the DIII National Indoor meet in Birmingham, Ala., this past weekend at the Last Chance Meet at UW-Stevens Point. His vault of 4.91 meters moved him up to 10th in the country and qualified him for the national meet. His vault on Saturday was only .01 meters off his personal best of 4.92 meters, which happens to be a UW-River Falls record. Sorensen will compete on Friday afternoon in Birmingham.
The Student Voice sat down with Sorensen to discuss his increased workload this season and his final indoor meet.
Q: What has this season been like for you?
A: It’s been my best season so far in my college career. I’ve been hitting big bars and attempting the national bar almost every meet that we went to. I attempted 16 feet, and I kind of made it connect at the Last Chance Meet.
Q: What led to you wanting to try out the heptathlon this season?
A: I always wanted to try it in college. I figured it was my senior year, so I might as well give it a go. I turned out being okay at it and got ninth at the conference meet. It was fun, and I was glad I did it.
Q: What events make up the Heptathlon?
A: It’s the high jump, long jump, pole vault, 60-meter dash, 60-meter hurdles, 1000 meters and shot put.
Q: Were any of the events new or challenging for you?
A: The only event that was new for me was the shot put. I did all the others a little bit in high school.
Q: Did you find you were better at any of the events than you expected?
A: I did a lot better in the hurdles than I thought I was going to do. My first race (this season) was really, really, bad. By the end of the year I had it down pretty well.
Q: Did training for the Heptathlon help you out in any way in your pole vaulting?
A: I think it did. I definitely got faster in my 60m, which is going to help pole vault if I run faster. I’m going to continue outdoor to train for a few different events. I won’t do the Decathlon, but I will train for a few events.
Q: What kind of vault did you need to qualify for nationals this past weekend?
A: I made 15 feet 9 1/4 inches at conference in the Heptathlon. That actually would’ve made it to nationals. It would’ve been in 15th place, which is the last spot to get in. But I really needed to get that 16 feet 1 inch mark to secure the spot; that was the bar going into the weekend. I figured 15 feet 9 1/4 inches wasn’t going to make it, so I had to make that jump.
Q: What was your near-record 4.91-meter jump like? Did it all come together?
A: I was jumping really well in warmups and then I almost didn’t make 15 feet. I barely made it and I nicked it on my third attempt. I passed 15 feet 7 inches and went straight to 16 feet 1 inch. My first attempt was just shallow, which means I wasn’t going into the depth I needed. My second attempt was also shallow, but my third attempt I knew I had to give it everything I had, and I made it.
Q: What is your goal for competing in nationals? Is this your first appearance?
A: This is my second time going there; I made it in 2015 as a freshman. My goal is to be an All-American, which is top eight. The height I’d really like to hit is five meters, which is about 16 feet 5 inches. That would be the highest I ever jumped.
Q: How did you do in your first appearance at nationals?
A: I was pretty nervous the first time I went. I think I jumped 15 feet 3 inches, which was opening height. I missed the next three attempts and was done. I think I won’t have as many nerves this time and will be going there to compete.
Q: What are you looking forward to in the outdoor season?
A: I’m looking to finally get over 16 feet outdoor. My best is about 15 feet 6 inches for outdoor, which is the school record. I think I would’ve broken the school record in outdoor about six times in indoor this year. I’d really like to get it over 16 feet and qualify for nationals outdoor, because I haven’t gone yet.
Q: How have you developed throughout your time as a pole vaulter at UWRF?
A: In my freshman year, I really had everything click indoors and figured out a lot of things I needed to do. I went 16 feet 1 3/4 inches my freshman year, and I never quite had that feeling again the last two years. This year I finally was running good, and everything is coming together this year. It was all building up to this year. I know I haven’t jumped my PR (personal record) yet, but I’m jumping better than I ever have.
Q: What will you remember most about your time as a Falcon?
A: I honestly will remember the people that were there and made the journey fun. We don’t have a huge track team, but it’s the few people on the team that make the difference. I wouldn’t change it in a million years.