WELLSVILLE — Wellsville High School senior Austin Jones has lofty goals for the future.
He wants a shot at being one of the top pole vaulters in the world.
Jones knew he needed a college track program with those same aspirations.
Cowley County Community College in Arkansas City fits the ball for him.
The Tigers have had several junior college All-Americans in the pole vault.
“They have one of the best track coaches for pole vault,” Jones said Wednesday in the school library after signing with Cowley County. “They have numerous 16-, 17-foot vaulters.
“My goal is to get to the Olympics.”
It did not hurt that Cowley also has a good criminal justice program.
Jones, who placed third at the 3A state track meet two straight seasons, decided to concentrate solely on track his senior year.
He did not play football for the Eagles in the fall.
“I have lifted a lot of weights ... ran a lot,” he said.
He changed from a 14-foot pole to a 15-foot pole. Last year, he cleared 15 feet using the smaller pole.
Jones said it takes some adjustments to get used to the bigger pole.
“That is a big leap,” he said. “You have to get taller and drive harder.
“You have to make yourself more powerful than the pole.”
He would like to break the 16-foot mark this high school season.
Jones said so much of the success or failure of the big heights is the mental approach.
“Every good pole vaulter goes into a spot where they don’t go up at all,” Jones said.
“It is all mental. You always have to think you are going to make it no matter what.
“At lower heights, you want to look at the bar and see how much you want to clear it by.
“No matter how high it is, I always want to clear it by a foot.”
Jones has put in a lot of time in prepping for his final high school season. A lot of it by himself.
“It took a lot of self-motivation,” he said.
Jones said the Cowley coaches mentioned he could compete in the sprints — 100- and 200-meter races — just like he does for the Eagles.