Roberts Wesleyan pole vaulter coached by gold medalist, qualifies for U.S. Olympic trials

Roberts Wesleyan pole vaulter qualifies for U.S. Olympic Trials

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The Summer Olympics are fast approaching, and a local gold medalist may be making another trip to the international competition. This time, though, Jenn Suhr wouldn’t be going as an athlete but as a coach. 

Suhr is now the assistant track and field coach at Roberts Wesleyan University in Chili.  She’s tasked with recruiting and training for the pole vault program, and one of Suhr’s student-athletes has just qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials. 

Brynn King was born and raised in Houston, Texas.  She was originally recruited to the track and field team at Duke University, “I had two years of extra eligibility for track between COVID and getting injured a couple of times, so I knew I wanted something different for my last two years of eligibility, I really wanted to go for it all pole vault-wise,” she tells News10NBC.

So, King put herself in the transfer portal and that’s where 17-time national champion and Olympic gold medalist Jenn Suhr found her.

“She was the main reason I came here,” says King. “I hadn’t heard of this school, I’ve never really been to the Northeast — but she told me this is where she went and she was like, ‘“’it’s a great school, it’s a little school but the people are super nice’”’ –she was like ‘I think you’d fit in well here and you’d fit in well with the pole vault program.’”

King is not fitting in, she’s standing out. 

“I chased 14 feet for like my entire time at Duke; that was like the bar that I just wanted to get,” she recalls. Within three months of working with Suhr, King cleared 14 feet and then 14 ½ feet and then 14 feet, 10 inches.  It turns out, that was just the start,

“Jenn said, I know you can be a 15-foot jumper and it took me a little bit to believe in myself and know that I could and I jumped it in practice one day and I was like, y’all are right, I have a lot more in me,” she says.

Earlier this month, King set a new NCAA record and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials with a jump of 15 feet, 1 inch.  She’s hoping to continue to literally raise the bar at every meet.

“Right now, it’s still continuing to work at takeoff, getting faster in the run, getting better with the swings. Nothing changes because she jumped that, she’s just going to get better and better being in the system,” says Suhr.

King is hoping that the progress she’s making might earn her a spot on the U.S. Olympic team for the 2024 games in Paris.

“When I was young, I’d always watch and be like, I want to be there but at the time I was a cheerleader so, I didn’t really have a sport that was in it — but there was a part of me that was like, I want to do that some day, and I ended up finding pole vault and that’s definitely a goal of mine,” King says, “I watch and I’m like, okay, that is a place that I can see myself and that is a place I want to get to and I will work as hard as I can to try to make that a reality.”

King’s desire and dedication is something Suhr knows all too well. “I’m excited for her and I’m excited for what she’s doing because I remember the feelings I had, I get chills, I remember what it was for me to qualify, what it was like for me to be in that and so, I get to see that in someone else and it kinda revives that feeling that maybe I had lost being a professional for 17 years — you kinda get in the grind of it and now I get to relive the emotions,” Suhr says.

The U.S. Olympic Trials for track and field are being held during the last week of June.  News10NBC will follow King’s journey and keep you posted on any developments.