USF junior breaks school record in pole vault

- The launch and free fall of pole vault are why USF junior David Bell keeps coming back for more. 

"I was kind of an adrenaline junkie, so pole vault just kind of fit," said Bell. 

"Oh I mean, it's awesome," Bell continued. "The higher you jump, the longer you get to fall. I try to jump as high as I can to fly as high as possible and it's just, probably the best feeling in the world. Practices don't feel like practices. It's just fun." 

All that fun he's having is paying off, too. A few weeks ago, Bell broke the outdoor school record by 2.75 inches.

That record stood for 14 years.

Bell's 17-7.00 mark in the record book may not last long, though. 

"It was definitely a goal," said Bell. "I kind of see it as a stair step. My main goal this year is to try and jump 18 [feet], so I feel like it was kind of the next step was getting the school record, just keep going because I have another year. Just keep on going as high as I can." 

"He's got the potential to jump much higher," said USF pole vault coach Don Marsh. "He's potentially a 19-footer, there's no question."

Bell now owns both the outdoor and indoor records at USF. In February, his mark of 17-5.00 penciled him for the indoor record. 

The Bulls outdoor season is far from over, but already, Bell is likely to earn a spot in the NCAA preliminary round which will be held at USF next month. 

"As a sophomore last year, he jumped 17-1.00 and qualified for the regional, finished 2nd in the conference meet, so we could see right then this was going to be a good year for him," said Marsh. "This year has obviously been very good, he's jumped 17-7.00 and many times over 17 feet. He's pretty much a consistent, 17-plus guy now." 

And whenever Bell reaches one goal, it's time to set a new one. 

"I'm hoping to try and jump 18-3.00 possibly this year, and 18-8.00 the next year," said Bell. "Just have good shots at the Olympics this year. I want to see how far I can go."

One day we could see this Bull on the world's biggest stage.

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