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Landry resumes flight at Cal

Placer grad aiming to compete on a national level after transferring from Cal Poly SLO
By: Ray Hacke, Journal Sports Writer
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Having already captured two Big West Conference pole vault titles, Connor Landry believed he could reach even greater heights. So far, he’s been right. The Placer High graduate transferred to UC Berkeley from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo following the 2009 track and field season in the hopes of improving his already considerable pole vault skills, and since coming to Cal he’s literally raised the bar for his accomplishments. Landry cleared a personal best 17 feet, 5½ inches at an indoor meet in February, and he went over the bar at 17-0¾ at the season’s first outdoor meet in early March. Cal assistant coach Scott Slover, who works with the Golden Bears’ pole vaulters, sees Landry going even higher before the season is over. “He’s physically talented — he’s strong and fast — but aside from the physicality, his mental approach to the pole vault is exactly what you would want it to be,” Slover said. “He’s fearless and aggressive, and that’s what will take him to the next level. “And by the next level, I mean 18 feet.” That number represents the minimum height Landry will have to get over if he hopes to contend for the Pac-10 Conference title, All-America honors and a trip to the NCAA Division I outdoor nationals – all of which are goals of his this season. The junior just missed qualifying for the indoor nationals earlier this year. Landry never qualified for a national meet at Cal Poly, where despite winning two Big West outdoor championships, his best mark was 16-6¾. “To win the Pac-10 title, I have to jump a foot and a half higher than I did last year,” Landry said. “It will be a big thing for him to even be at nationals as a pole vaulter,” Slover said. “When you go 16-6 in the pole vault, you’re not thinking about the nationals at all. Now he’s got a whole other mindset.” That mindset was what Landry sought for himself last summer when he left Cal Poly following his pole vault coach’s departure from the team. “It wasn’t until June that I even thought about transferring,” Landry said. “It all happened really fast. I wasn’t really reaching my potential at Cal Poly, and when my coach left, I thought it would be a good idea to transfer.” Landry credits Slover with making adjustments to his takeoff that have helped him reach the heights he’s achieved this season. “Last year I was on a big enough pole, but the top part of my jump wasn’t there,” Landry said. “This year I’m taking off more aggressively instead of just putting my arms up and jumping into it.” “He used to just rock, lean back and take off,” Slover said. “Now he’s being tall and upright and putting more energy into the pole.” An environmental economics and policy major, Landry is still weighing his post-college career options, which include going into the business field or becoming a firefighter. The real world may have to wait, however. “I’ll be done with school right when the 2012 Olympics are coming up,” Landry said. “My goal is to make the trials, and we’ll see what happens from there. “Eighteen feet gets you into the trials, but I think you have to go 19 feet to actually make the team.” “Swifter, Higher, Stronger” is the Olympic motto, and considering that Landry has become all of those things since coming to Cal, Slover eagerly hopes to see what new heights Landry can reach. “He’s really going to show in the future that he can be a contender on the national level,” the coach said. “It’s a treat to work with him. You don’t get an athlete like that falling into your lap very often, and I’m really excited for the opportunity to be able to work with him.”