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By the Numbers

The USPVA Ambassadors are a select group of elite vaulters chosen to represent USPVA in elite competition. All the ambassadors have a desire to spread and develop the sport across the country though education, experience, and competition. For the ambassadors, athletic performance and pole vault community outreach go hand in hand. Each member is top in their field and represent themselves as a voice for the vault.

USPVA Ambassadors

USPVA Ambassadors by the Numbers

Chase Brannon

  • 290’4.25 feet (88.50m) cleared

  • 36x NCAA Regional Qualifier

  • 31x Conference Medalist

  • 21x NCAA Championship Qualifier

  • 19x Conference Champion

  • 14x All American

  • 11x USA National Championship Qualifier

  • 2x USA National Championship Medalist

  • 1x USA National Champion

  • 1x World Championship Qualifier

  • 1x NCAA National Championship

  • 1x Olympic Trials Qualifier

  • 1x NACAC Champion

  • 1x Masters National Champion

  • 1x Masters World Champion

Hometown: Brentwood, Tennessee

Alma Mater: University of Tennessee, 2014

Career Stats: While a Vol, Chase captured two All American nods (2012 indoor and outdoor) as well as being a four-time NCAA Championship qualifier (2012, 2012, 2013, and 2014). During his senior season he set a personal best of 5.43m to set the tone for the tail end of his collegiate career. Since graduating Chase has qualified for three USA National Championships (2016, 2017, and 2018) and improved his personal best to 5.57m.

Mark Cortazzo

Michael Cyphers

Hometown: Parsippany, New Jersey 

Alma Mater: University of Pennsylvania

Career Stats: Cortazzo most recently won the 2018 Indoor Masters National Championship with a mark of 3.95m. Mark is a coach of New Jersey High school Pingry where he has coached some of the best vaulters in the state. He is the president of USPVA and has been the cornerstone in helping the organization develop as a voice for the vault. Aside from his pole vaulting career, Mark is a Senior Partner at MACRO Consulting Group.

Hometown: Lebananon, New Hampshire

Alma Mater: Wake Forest University

Career Stats: In 2015 he broke the school record of 5.05m with a personal best of 5.12m at the indoor ACC Championships, this performance captured him Second Team All-ACC. Since graduation Michael has continued pole vaulting and improved his personal best to 5.35m at the Lynchburg Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational.

Alex Geniesse

Hometown: Seaford, Delaware

Alma Mater: Liberty University

Career Stats: Alex started pole vaulting his senior year of high school. After graduating he walked on to Liberty University’s track and field program. His personal best is 5.05m and he’s excited to jump into the coming years.

Sophie Gutermuth

Hometown: Leo, Indiana

Alma Mater: Indiana University

Career Stats: During her career at Indiana she earned All- American honors by coming in 12th place at the 2015 indoor NCAA Championships with a vault of 4.10m. She also claimed three Big Ten medals including a silver and two bronze during her four years (2014, 2015, 2015). She claimed her personal best Texas Relays in 2015 where she cleared 4.35m. In 2017 she improved her PR by 12cm to 4.47m which qualified her for the USA Championship. She continues to compete and has her eyes set on Tokyo 2020.

Nathan Hiett

Hometown: Chandler, Arizona

Alma Mater: Arizona State

Career Stats: Before competing for Arizona State Nathan competed for Albany University where he claimed two American East Conference Championships (2014 and 2015). After becoming a Sun Devil he improved is personal record to 5.30m. His senior season at Arizona State took him to the NCAA West Prelims where he placed 14th with a vault of 5.15m. Nathan just finished his last year of NCAA eligibility and has begone his post collegiate career.

Scott Houston

Hometown: Oak Ridge, North Carolina

Alma Mater: University of North Carolina

Career Stats: As a Tarheel he cleared a personal best of 5.34m and earned 3rd place in the ACC Championship. He then went on to Indiana University to complete his Master of Science in Sports Management while he continued his collegiate vaulting career through 2013. Post-collegiately, in 2015 Scott had a break out performance at the indoor USA National Championship where he placed 4th with a personal best clearance of 5.51m. Since 2015 his success has grown including a National Championship victory during the 2018 indoor season with a new personal best of 5.83m. He has made multiple appearances all over the world in different Diamond league meets in hopes of qualifying for the Olympics in 2020. Scott’s great season has earned him a spot as one of the top vaulters of 2018 in the United States and the World. Currently, Scott an assistant coach at High Point University where he has coached USPVA ambassador Austin Miller during his 2016 senior campaign.

Jill Marois

Hometown: Boylston, Massachusetts

Alma Mater: High Point University

Career Stats: Jill Marois is originally from Worcester, MA and started pole vaulting as a sophomore in high school finishing with a PR of 10’6”.  Went on to High Point University to become a 3-time Conference Champion and finish with the 2016 Big South Championship record and collegiate best of 4.22m (13’10”), while earning a degree in psychology and a minor in coaching. Qualified for the 2017 Outdoor US Championships in the first year of post collegiate training with a season best of 4.45m (14’7.25”). She continues into her third year of post collegiate training at the High Point facility, Vaulthouse, while coaching there and working various jobs to support the elite lifestyle. 

Austin Miller

Chris Pillow

Nate Richartz

Peter Roach

Hometown: Herdon, Virginia

Alma Mater: High Point University

Career Stats: While at High Point he captured four Big South Conference Championships (2014, 2015, 2016, and 2016). Along with his four Conference Championship Austin also added two NCAA East Prelims qualifications as well (2015 and 2016). Since graduating from High Point he has improved is personal best by 41cm and cleared 5.66m during the summer of 2018 after his first USA National Championship where he placed 8th. Austin is currently a volunteer coach at his alma mater where he assists in the pole vault.

Hometown: Michanicsville, Virginia

Alma Mater: Rice University

Career Stats: During his time at Rice he was recognized as a first team All-American (2014 and 2015) and a five-time Conference USA Champion (2013, 2014, 2014, 2015, and 2015). While competing at the USA National Championship in 2015 he cleared a college best of 5.60m and captured 2nd place. At the 2017 USA National Championship he broke his own PR again by clearing 5.65m and finishing in 3rd place.

Hometown: Island Lake, Illinois

Alma Mater: Notre Dame

Career Stats: During his time for the fighting Irish Nate has amassed an ACC Championship (2016), four All-American teams (2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018) including a 6th place finish at the 2017 Indoor NCAA Championship. He has also claimed the school record of 5.70m which he did to claim the ACC title at his final ACC Championship. This performance made him one of the top vaulter in the United States and in the NCAA in 2018.

Hometown: Elkhart, Indiana

Alma Mater: Cornell University

Career Stats: Early in his career as a sophomore he claimed the school record at the NCAA East Prelim where he cleared 5.17m. This was one of the three times he made it to the Regional Championship (2012, 2013, 2014). In his final IC4A Championship of his career Peter improved his personal best to 5.30m and placed 2nd at the meet. Since graduating he has cleared a new personal record of 5.40m in 2016.

Andrea Sabbatine

Garrett Starkey

Hometown: Georgetown, Kentucky

Alma Mater: University of Louisville

Career Stats: Her senior year of high school she was named Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Kentucky. As a Cardinal she reported a PR of 3.85m but improved that mark to 4.20m during her professional career. Currently Andrea is the Director of Track and Field Operations at the Naval Academy.    

Hometown: Queen Creek, Arizona

Alma Mater: Arizona State

Career Stats: Before becoming a Sun Devil, Garrett competed for Stanford where he cleared a PR of 5.28m during his junior indoor season. In his lone season for ASU he was very consistent over 5m and cracked the 18-foot mark by vaulting 5.60m at the indoor USA National Championship. His personal best performance earned him the 4th highest vault in school history. He is continuing his vaulting career in hopes of qualifying for the Olympics.

Bubba Sparks

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Alma Mater: Texas State University

Career Stats: Bubba Sparks is a coach at the Mitchell Pro Vault Club in State College, Pennsylvania. He has coached many vaulters in the Pennsylvania area while also staying active as a masters pole vaulter. While in college he was an NAIA Champion in 1975 and 1976 as well as a USTFF champion. In 2009 Bubba won the World Masters Games. He remains very active in the pole vault community and wants to continue the movement in the right direction.

Lakan Taylor

Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas

Alma Mater: University of Alabama

Career Stats: During her senior campaign, she became the first woman’s NCAA pole vault champion in school history. Her personal best at the indoor national championship of 4.45m set the new school record. Over her four year career for Alabama she collected four All-American teams (2014, 2015, 2017, and 2017) two second team and two first team. Lakan is currently continuing her post collegiate career and since graduating has qualified for the 2018 USA National Championship.

Jacqueline Williams

Hometown: St. Clair Shores, Michigan

Alma Mater: Purdue University

Career Stats: Before competing for the Boilermakers, Jax was a member of the Division II school Grand Valley State. In her senior season she cleared a Personal best of 4.06m and qualified for the NCAA East Prelims. Currently Jax continues to vault and is in the process of obtaining her Ph.D in Organic Chemistry at Purdue University.

Megan Zimlich

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky

Alma Mater: University of Arkansas

Career Stats: NCAA Division I All-American pole vaulter for the University of Arkansas, Zimlich was a leading member of a track and field team that won 2 national championships, 6 SEC championships, and 3 triple crowns. She qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2014 in the pole vault and holds a personal best mark of 4.30m. Megan continues to pole vault post-collegiately as an elite. Zimlich also works as a conference officer for Conference Carolinas in High Point, NC and is the executive director for USPVA.