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Student dreams of going to Olympics

Pole vaulter Rory Quiller graduated in May, but he will continue to nurture his Olympic dreams at Binghamton University this year.

Quiller, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, has entered the MBA program and hopes to complete a doctorate in organizational management one day. He has one season of eligibility remaining in indoor track.

Quiller, 23, has been pole vaulting competitively since he was a freshman in high school. His father, now the head track coach at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, encouraged Quiller and his two brothers to participate in track.

“I’ve been doing track since I was 4,” Quiller said. “The pole vaulting came from the fact that I wasn’t very good at the mile and wasn’t fast enough for the 100.”

Don’t let that modesty fool you: Quiller ranks among the top 25 vaulters in the country, which means he has a good chance of going to the Olympic trials next year.

Quiller, who’s 6 feet 4 inches tall, says his height is an advantage and notes that, unlike other sports that favor teenagers, many top vaulters are in their late 20s or early 30s. His personal best jump was 18 feet and half an inch; 19 feet 6 inches was the record set at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Quiller, who earned All-America honors at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, also received All-America honors at last year’s NCAA indoor meet. He’s the first Binghamton Division I athlete to earn All-America honors twice in a career. In addition, he was recently named the 2006-07 America East Conference Men’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

“It’s probably 90 percent mental,” Quiller said. “It’s almost like you’ve got to turn off your brain when you’re vaulting in order to allow yourself to do it.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08