Hancock Vaults the Doubters

5 years 7 months 1 week ago March 14, 2011 Mar 14, 2011 Monday, March 14 2011 Monday, March 14, 2011 9:35:00 AM CDT in Tiger Talk
By: Eric Blumberg

COLUMBIA - There is a saying: it's not about the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. One Mizzou pole vaulter is jumping stereotypes.

A four-time high school state champion and Mizzou's indoor record holder.

Brian Hancock's literally reaching new heights, some doubted he'd ever see.

The goal is simple. The task is complex.

"He doesn't make excuses. He makes things work. He finds a way to make it happen," said Missouri jumps coach Dan Lefever.

Brian Hancock uses a 130 foot run, with a 15 foot pole, to vault a bar more than 17 feet high.

"He's very explosive. He has a critical understanding of the event," explained Coach Lefever.

"You have to have a certain craziness about you. Almost like you're too stupid to understand what could happen to you," said Hancock.

What can happen grounded Hancock last season though.

"I ended up with two stress fractures in my l-5 vertebrae. We think it's probably just the constant impact from running," explained Hancock.

"When he hits the box with the pole he hits it so hard he puts his soul into it," said Lefever.

His soul is immeasurable. His height is a surprising 5-foot-3.

"The funny part is I'm really not your stereotypical pole vaulter. It's usually the taller guys," explained Hancock.

His coach continued, "You see him at the NCAA championships and and then that Sesame Street song comes to mind. One of these things is not like the other."

What Hancock lacks vertically, however, makes up for with technique.

"He's mighty mouse. That's just because he's an overachiever. He squeezes so much out of his frame out of his little body. He couldn't help but be an inspiration. I love that guy," said asst. coach Christian Cantwell.

Hancock's now a two-time All-American with an all-time best of 17 feet 7 inches.

"With this kid you don't tell him what he can't do. You don't try to predict cause you might be short changing him and you don't want to do that," explained coach Lefever.

Don't short change the long shot.

"If anyone told me I was a Division one pole vaulter I wouldn't have believed it. Height doesn't matter," recalled Hancock.

A pole vaulting accident once caused Hancock to need 11 staples in his head, but he says he was back up on the pole the next day.


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