The crowd begins silent but then a slow clap starts as IU senior Adam Coulon begins to run toward the pole vault pit. He jumps, then the celebration starts as he clears another height.
Coulon, 21, has been pole vaulting ever since he was a little kid with the help of his father. Now as a senior, he's found success early on this season. He has a four-meet winning streak and a personal best mark of 5.65 meters.
“My dad was a jumper in high school and went on to do it in college,” Coulon said. “In fifth grade, he started me with a pole in the backyard with some self-made standards.”
Coulon said that his success started when he was in seventh grade and continued into his freshman year of high school, where he won the Illinois state championship.
However, he wasn’t always successful in high school. Coulon became interested in other sports such as basketball and marching band, so he began to back off track a little bit.
When he got to college, it took Coulon a little bit to adjust to the training and new competition that the Division I level brought. But he hit his stride sophomore year.
“He’s just awesome, because he goes about his business, he works hard every single weekend, he cares about the team and the people around him,” IU head coach Ron Helmer said. “He sets a good example for everybody.”
A new opportunity that Coulon has found this year is mentoring freshman standout Nathan Stone.
“Coming in my freshman year, I had teammates to look up to, and it’s huge to have a mentor, showing you what to do if you get banged up.” Coulon said. “Nathan is great and is going to be really good, and it’s awesome for him as a freshman to have people to jump with and push him.”
Stone was an accomplished freshman coming in. He was ranked the number two pole vaulter, according to MaxPreps, and was the Indiana state champion.
”It’s nice that (Coulon) is bringing me along for the ride because if he jumps high, I jump high, and there's a common theme, and it’s a really great environment,” Stone said. “It’s the most fun I’ve ever had competing.”
The Hoosiers have three pole vaulters this year competing at a high level in Coulon, Stone, and junior Brock Mammoser.
“Meets are really fun with Brock and Nathan, and it’s not about how one of us does, it’s about how we do as a group,” Coulon said.
Coulon has set many goals for himself as he ends his collegiate career including going to the NCAA championships and going to the Olympic Trials. Coulon said that he believes that he, Mammoser and Stone can make the Trials this summer.
As Coulon gets ready for the Big Ten Indoor Championship, he wants to continue his success from the early part of the season.
“I think as long as I keep working hard in practice and in the weight room that I can do something really special and get on that national stage and make a name for IU as a big vaulting school,” Coulon said.