June 3, 2009
Scott Roth put himself among the Husky elite pole vaulters of all time with a Pac-10 Championship two weeks ago, joining former Husky great and 2008 Olympian Brad Walker as the only Washington vaulters to win a conference title in the past 30 years.
"This is one of the highlights of my career to win Pac-10's with a new PR," said Roth, who later cleared 18-feet, 4.5-inches to win. "It was the most enjoyable event because my family was there and the whole team was there. I enjoy the team aspect of college jumping. I enjoyed winning it for the team and of course winning one for myself."
The hunger to win a Pac-10 title started two years ago for Roth.
As a freshman in 2007, the Husky finished second at the Pac-10 championships, clearing the same 17-10 ½ as eventual champion Tommy Skipper. The strength of Skipper's first attempt clearance left Roth with an impressive runner-up finish, but with a goal of standing atop the podium. With top-11 finishes at both the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championships, Roth completed his freshman season with two All-America honors already to his name.
The indoor season the next year showed that Roth was to be taken seriously in the conference, but that anticipation had to be put on hold. He cleared a Husky best 17-8, but had to be shut down for outdoor season with a back injury.
The injury has continued to be a problem this year, at times hampering Roth's training. However, even with the less training time, Roth didn't lose the confidence in his vaults. Competing attached for the first time in over a year this spring, he picked up right where he left off. A strong season had its first exclamation point in Eugene last weekend.
Roth cleared 17-11 to claim the title, and then pushed the bar to 18-4 ½. Clearance at that height gave him a new personal best and the second highest jump in the NCAA this, but Roth had his sights set higher. Roth then had the bar put at 18-9, which would have been the top height in the country.
"I was fairly confident but that bar was pretty high," Said Roth. "I knew it was a possibility and I was going to give an all-out effort. I think it would have been in reach."
Unfortunately, the bar blew off as Roth was starting his vault, causing him to awkwardly fall to the ground. Roth decided to stop after that jump, lucky to walk away without a major injury.
Roth did tweak the back injury that has bothered him for the past two years, but insists that it won't be a problem at the NCAA Championships, which he qualified for by winning West Regionals following Pac-10's.
"It has set me back a lot a while ago but now it's not holding me back that much," said Roth. "It's still there but I can still work through it. A year ago it ruined, but I think I have it under control. I trained hard this week. I feel like I'm in better shape. I think I'll be able to jump pretty high."
Only a sophomore, Roth has the opportunity to build on one of the best seasons for a Husky pole vaulter in the program's history. After setting a personal record at Pac-10's, Roth was able to build momentum at Regionals and can now set his sights on loftier goals. Prior to the Regional meet, Roth was only concerned with advancing, but now the Husky vaulter can shoot for the bars that could bring an NCAA title.
"The first goal is just to make nationals," said Roth, which he has now accomplished. "After that I can think about other things. If I reach nationals I'm shooting for 5.7 meters, which would be 18-8."