Derek Miles & Friends pole vault competition Saturday at DakotaDome

Derek Miles & Friends pole vault competition Saturday at DakotaDome
Ten of the nation's best pole vaulters, including the 2004 USA Olympic pole vault team, will participate in one of the most unique track and field competitions ever held in the state of South Dakota when The University of South Dakota hosts the Derek Miles and Friends Pole Vault exhibition on Saturday, Jan.19.

The competition, which will be part of the Bill Hillenbrand Open on Jan.18-19 at the DakotaDome, will feature four U.S. Olympians. The event will include two Olympic gold medalists, an Olympic silver medalist, the American pole vault record holder and the 2007 pole vault world champion.

The group will also include USD's Derek Miles and Sam Pribyl, who serve as USD track and field assistant coaches. Miles won the National Pole Vault Summit at the Reno Livestock Events Center on Jan. 4 by clearing 19.25 feet which is an automatic qualifying mark for the USA Olympic Trials. Miles' jump is also the best in the world.

The event will begin at 3 p.m. with an autograph and photo session after the competition concludes. In addition, door prizes will be part of the event which will also feature floor-level seating.

"We are very excited about this event," said USD head men's track and field coach Dave Gottsleben. "This competition will be one of the best ever held in the Midwest. This group of talented performers will put on a big-time show. People should come out to be part of one of the most unique track and field events ever held in the Midwest and South Dakota."

Competitors at the Derek Miles and Friends exhibition will include Jeff Hartwig, the American pole vault record holder and six-time national champion; Tim Mack, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist and Olympic record holder; Toby "Crash" Stevenson, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist; Nick Hysong, the 2000 Olympic gold medalist; Brad Walker, the 2007 world champion; Tye Harvey, former silver medalist at the World Championships; as well as Jeremy Scott, Jacob Pauli, Pribyl and Miles.

The Derek Miles and Friends competition began in 2005 with Miles and Hartwig engaged in competition. Two years ago, Stevenson joined Miles and Hartwig at the USD competition. Now Miles has brought in the largest contingent of world class vaulters ever in South Dakota.

"Everyone is excited about participating in this event," said Miles. "The event will be competitive, fun and one of the most energetic competitions on U.S. soil this year."

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