Senior track captain deflects credit of personal success to his team

By Andrew Hart

Athletes dream of breaking a school record and etching their names into university athletics lore, but not many break the record they originally set to do so. 

As a pole vaulter on the men’s track and field team, senior captain Noah Hysong experienced the sequence first hand in the only meet of the 2020 season. Before Feb. 24, the record height of the jump in the event was 13’ 7.75,” a record Hysong set last season. When he jumped 13’ 9.25” on Feb. 24, he reached a new height and officially broke his own record.

“Breaking the record again to open this season was amazing,” he said.

“I owe so much of it to my team.”

Last summer, Hysong was busy rehabbing for hip injuries he sustained. He points to training with freshman teammate Luke Calabrese during the fall and winter preseason which helped elevate his focus.

“We both knew it was a goal of mine to open the season better than I finished my junior one, to be able to do that made me feel like this season was going to be one to remember,” Hysong said. 

As for the repetitive nature of breaking your own records, Hysong points to how it acts like a reset button and fails to become stale. 

“Every time I have been fortunate enough to break the record it feels like I’m breaking it for the first time. I think that’s why I’ve been able to do it a handful of times. When you clear the bar and begin to fall it feels like you’re flying and for those two seconds you’re free to relax.”

With such a complex body motion required for pole vaulting, the idea of relaxing seems far fetched from the average track and field follower. For Hysong, years of practice have almost made the movement second nature to him.

“Everyone I know has asked me why I’m not scared of it — even my mom. I think I was just fortunate to have a high school coach, captain and teammates that I trusted and who took the time to make sure I was doing each phase of the jump correctly.”

“Even now at Roger Williams where I’m attempting heights that are new to me and the danger is getting greater I have coaches and teammates that are always watching and helping me,” Hysong said. 

Over his four years at RWU, Hysong has competed in many events in addition to pole vaulting. Last season, he finished second in the 4X100 meter and sixth in the 200 meter at the CCC Championship. In his career, he has also competed in the 400 hurdles, 400 dash and the 4×400. 

After winning the conference championship in pole vaulting as a freshman, Hysong placed second in the conference tournament as a sophomore — a disappointing setback for him. 

“Coming in second my sophomore year was a letdown for me personally. Although I am happy with how I performed, the goal was to walk away with the title again and distinguish myself in the conference as someone other schools should be watching out for,” Hysong said.

A tough pill to swallow for sure, but the team did walk away from the tournament with the conference championship, something Hysong was proud to be a part of. 

“I remember talking with my coach in the days after… telling him I would rather walk away with the team title for the next two years than win my event as an individual again.”

As a junior, Hysong was able to rebound and place first in the conference championship for pole vaulting, capturing an important personal goal for himself. 

“Coming back my junior year and winning the event again felt amazing. It was definitely at the top of my goals for the season.” 

“There were plenty of competitors from other schools who looked to play head games and were talking a lot throughout the day, so walking away with that gold medal put a smile on my face for the rest of the day,” he said.

To think this all started with one decision as a sophomore in high school.

“I was looking for a spring sport to get into after fall and winter,” Hysong said.  

“Seeing it was where most of my friends were going I followed along. I didn’t expect to fall in love with it at all.”