Scotten dawging the competition

By Gus Bode

The SIU men’s and women’s track and field will host the USA Track and Field Open today

Somebody forgot to tell Ray Scotten that freshman are supposed to play a while before stomping the competition.

The SIU men’s track and field star freshman pole-vaulter has skipped the learning curve and as of right now holds the top overall mark in the Missouri Valley Conference at 17-0.75 – six inches higher than the nearest competition.


Last weekend at the Illini Classic, Scotten was victorious in the pole vault, defeating top athletes from Illinois, Iowa State and Kansas after a vault of16-8.75.

Scotten, who was an All-American at Ben Davis High High School in Indianapolis, has failed to win at just one meet this season. He finished second at the Redbird Open on Jan. 31 in Normal.

Despite his dominance, no one is shocked by his performances this early in his infant career.

” I am not at all surprised,” SIU head coach Cameron Wright said. “He is doing well. So far he has been doing what I expected him to do. He has vaulted well and has been consistent in practice.”

Scotten thinks that one reason he is doing so well is because of the fact he vaults on a pole that outweighs him by 35 pounds. He said that he has also been involved in gymnastics and that has improved his flexibility.

Wright, however, is not so humble about his standout freshman.

“[Scotten’s success] has nothing to do with his size,” Wright said. “It has to do with how big his heart is.”


Although he is having no problem adjusting to college competition, there is still work that needs to be done for him to reach his season goal of 17-7.

To reach that height, one of the main things Scotten will need to allow the pole to do more work and keep his form tighter.

“I think that is a reachable goal,” Scotten said. “Once I get everything cleaned up, I should be okay.”

Wright said it would be too easy for the staff and Scotten to sit around and be fired up with his performances thus far, but they all know that he is capable of better marks.

This weekend’s Tyson Invite in Fayetteville, Ark., is the ideal time for him to improve his height.

With three years left after this season, foes will become very familiar with Scotten.

“I want to dominate the conference for the next four years,” Scotten said.

While Scotten is in warm climates, the men’s and women’s track and field team is hosting the USA Track and Field Open today beginning at 5 p.m. at the Recreation Center.

On Saturday, the meet will commence at 9 a.m. with the running events.

The non-scored meet will serve as a great warm-up for the MVC Indoor Championships, which take place Feb. 28-Mar. 1 in Normal.

The conference championship is the main focus for the teams.

“I would say I am cautiously optimistic with how our season has gone,” Wright said. “We place a lot emphasis in conference and the proof of our team’s season is how we finish at conference.”

Reporter Zack Creglow can be reached at [email protected]