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Ethan Poston at the NCAA tournament on Texas A&M University track.

Ethan Poston tied for 21st nationally at the NCAA Division I West Regional, clearing 6 feet, 11 inches. 

Poston, a rising senior from Metamora, Illinois, said he worked with the team’s new Head Coach Marcus Evans this season to prepare for the tournament. 

“All season, we were just training to be more consistent at the higher heights and get my approach more consistent. Then at conference … we really focused on my approach and my mechanics over the bars … we felt pretty good going into nationals, and then basically the whole week before nationals we just spent fine-tuning some things for my approach and then just worked on some explosiveness,” Poston said. 

Poston said simply attending the tournament was a big accomplishment. 

“It was my first year going. Just being around some of the best high jumpers in the nation, it was really cool to watch them and be a part of that and be with all those guys,” Poston said. “While I was jumping, I was just trying to have fun, because I was already there jumping against those guys. I was kind of nervous [for the] first couple of jumps, but I jumped 6 [feet] 11 [inches], so it was OK.”

Poston said he plans to spend the summer training to prepare for next season. 

“I’ll probably start jumping in July and I’ll just work on my approach more. Then Coach wants me to scissor, which is basically just jumping straight over the bar, like not bending over it, and he wants me to get higher at that because then that will affect my hips over the bar. So if I can get higher on that, that will most likely go into higher heights,” Poston said. 

Evans said the NCAA was originally going to have 32 participants instead of the usual 48 for the West Region, which could have hurt Poston’s chance of qualifying. 

“It was going to be a little bit slimmer of a chance, but we still thought we had one. He was top 28 going into the meet, so he would have made it either way, but [it was] a really good experience for him,” Evans said. 

Evans said the team uses the fall to get in shape, but Poston’s training will become more specific in the spring. 

“He does a lot of what we call half jumps or half approaches. His approach is 10 steps, so sometimes we’ll cut that down to five steps or three steps to take a load off of the body,” Evans said. 

Roland Prenzler, a rising junior on the track and field team from Edwardsville, said Poston has gone through two coaching changes for his event since he was recruited, but next season the team should be more adjusted to the new coaching style. 

“That’s something that is tough for an athlete. I’m really confident that Coach Evans can take Ethan to another level and that Ethan can make a big improvement in his performances with Coach Evans,” Prenzler said. 

Prenzler said Poston leads the team by example and shows them how to work hard and have fun. 

“Ethan is someone on the team who always brings a calming vibe. He’s a really chill guy and whenever someone is really stressing about something, he’s always there to calm you down and help you focus more,” Prenzler said. “He’s really good at that, bringing you back down to earth like, ‘Hey, we’re here to have fun. As long as you’re trying your best, that’s all we really ask.’”

Evans said Poston performed well, almost qualifying for the finals, which gives them something to work toward next year. 

“He was one height away from having the chance to go to Eugene [State] for the NCAA finals, so we’re looking forward to that. He feels like he jumped much more consistently than he ever has even though he didn’t jump his [personal record] this year,” Evans said. “We’re going to try to get him to some bigger PRs and work on his technique so he can do that.”

 

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