Backyard success leads to pole vault state titles


The sport that takes 90 percent mental ability and 20 percent athletic ability is being coached by a San Angelo local right in his backyard.

It all started with hay bells and mattresses.

“We started humbly with square bells of hay” Ruiz explained.

Ruiz a pole vaulter himself started coaching his two children in his backyard 15 years ago now that his kids are adults he continues his family tradition with a new generation of vaulters.

“It’s a passion that comes with someone that really loves the sport.” Ruiz adds, “I have a passion for coaching it.”

Now that Wille has upgraded from hay bells to a foam pit he attracts local athletes from across the Concho Valley.

Luke Certa a Concho Valley Pole Vaulter said

“My goal is to at least get top three when I go to these competitions and jump that’s my goal,” he says “coming here helps me get better and helps me place higher.”

Concho valley pole vault holds itself to a high standard especially when it comes to state meets.

“In the past 15 years I’ve had 5 jumpers go to state and win State in the smaller school divisions and I’ve had 31 of my kids that vault here actually win State in the past 15 years,” said Ruiz.

There is no end in sight when it comes to Ruiz’s passion for coaching.

“My biggest reward is the look on their face when they are up there on the podium getting that metal even if it’s third place even if they cleared a height they never cleared before to me watching their face is the biggest reward.” He concluded with “I’ll do it for as long as God gives me the strength and ability and the knowledge to go forth with it.”

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