EUGENE, Oregon (KETK) – The Rose City’s Branson Ellis has already spent almost two weeks in “TrackTown.”
Last week he claimed Stephen F. Austin’s first men’s outdoor national championship.
This weekend, he looks to become an Olympian.
Ellis, a Texas high school Class 6A state record holder, and two-time UIL state pole vault champion is set to compete at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials which will be held back at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.
Sporting his trademark cowboy hat, Ellis cleared 18-feet, 8.25 inches to win the NCAA pole vault crown. He expects to have to top 19-feet or higher to make the team.
Ellis cleared 19-feet, and a quarter inch in February 2020 at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships for a second-place finish, which earned him the invite to the Olympic trials.
Ellis, who didn’t start pole vaulting until the very end of his freshman year of high school, is thrilled about the chance he has in front of him.
“It’s very humbling. I mean it’s a huge honor to me because, you know, this is what I’ve wanted to do. I’ve wanted to be an Olympian ever since I was a little kid. You know whenever I was still taking gymnastics, and now being able to get to go to the trials, and you know, have that opportunity to possibly become and Olympian is breathtaking for me,” said Ellis.
The qualifying round for the 24 pole vaulters participating at the trials is Saturday at 6:30 p.m. central time.
If he makes the cut to the final twelve, he will compete for three Team U.S.A. spots to go to the Tokyo Summer Olympics Monday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. East Texas time.
Ellis will be joined by SFA high jumper Nissi Kobango at the trials. Her qualifying round is at 6:45 p.m. Friday.
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