Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • HLG coach to compete at USA Championship

  • Jason Scott is not your typical coach.

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  • Jason Scott is not your typical coach.
    Scott’s Clark Kent job — the position he has to pay his bills — is as an assistant coach for the track and field team at Hannibal-LaGrange College. When he’s not coaching, Scott is competing. An accomplished track and field athlete in a variety of events, Scott hasn’t let his 2007 graduation from Cedarville University (Ohio) slow him down. In fact, he’s kept entering meets and kept improving.
    Friday Scott has qualified as a pole vaulter for the 2010 USA Track and Field Championships at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
    “I jump Friday at 5:45 p.m.,” Scott said. “It’s going to be the top-18 pole vaulters in the U.S., and I’m going to be competing against them.”
    The USA Track and Field Championship is where the best-of-the-best go to compete. Scott’s boss at HLG, track head coach Jason Lewkowicz, calls the event the second-best level of competition after the Olympic trials.
    Entering the Championship, Scott is currently tied for 14th place with his qualifying mark. With a new pole in hand, Scott hopes to soar higher.
    His current personal record is 17-feet-9-inches. The goal for Iowa is to clear 18-feet. Scott recently received a new pole from his dad and hopes that pushes him to the next level. In pole vaulting, the longer the pole, the higher you can jump. So far, the new pole has helped.
    “My main goal is to go in there and clear 18-feet,” he said. “That’s something I’ve been shooting for the last four years. Anything after that would be nice.”
    Scott’s decision to not hang up the spikes after his graduation was motivated by one thing: His faith.
    “The No. 1 reason I’m going, is that God has given me the ability and I just want to go there and honor Him with what He has given me,” Scott said. “For everything He’s done for me, I try to give a little bit back.”
    Scott doesn’t just talk about his faith, he wears it on his sleeve. Or to be more accurate, on his shirt.
    “I’ve got a little team called ‘Competing for Christ,’” he said. “On my jersey it says ‘Competing for Christ.’”
    Balancing the life of a coach and an athlete has been a challenge for Scott. He has his day-to-day duties with the athletes at HLG, but Lewkowicz said he manages things well.
    HLG knew Scott wanted to keep competing when he was hired and found a way to work with that because of all the positives it brings to the program. Having someone involved with the program bring positive recognition to the school helps with recruiting and just building up the image of the HLG program.
    Page 2 of 2 - HLG’s season has been over for a few weeks, allowing Scott to work more on his vaulting. He said that right now, he is vaulting better than he ever has before.
    “I feel more rested,” he said. “My body just feels better. It’s not as stressed.”
    Vaulters, even the best ones, don’t make a lot of money, something Scott knows. On his own, he might not be able to keep pursuing his passion. Scott, however, is not on his own with his wife Bethany by his side.
    “My wife works very hard as a nurse to help me out,” he said. “She’s the best.”
    While not a vaulter himself, Lewkowicz did have some advice to offer Scott before he heads to the Championships.
    “I would just tell him to relax and enjoy the moment,” Lewkowicz said.
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