TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation citizen and Jenks junior Tommy Dial continues to climb the national high school pole vaulting rankings. Dial is the top ranked junior and fourth overall high school pole vaulter in the country.
“It’s a good feeling knowing that your hard work is paying off,” Dial said. “I am working for that number-one spot overall. That’s what I want, and I am going to keep working for it every day.”
Pole vaulting is in the Dial family DNA. Dial’s father, Joe, brought home a bronze medal for the U.S. Track and Field team at the 1989 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Joe, now the head track coach at Oral Roberts University, broke the American pole vaulting record nine times and the world record once during his career.
Tommy Dial hopes to continue the family tradition, but is determined to achieve something else. Dial’s dream is to make the 2016 and 2020 U.S. Olympic team.
“I always wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps. I have been training really hard to be the best I can be,” Dial said. “My ultimate goal is to win an Olympic medal. Hopefully, I can break some records like my dad did along the way.”
University track programs are starting to take notice of Dial’s abilities. Colleges from the Big 12, SEC and PAC 12, he said, are showing interest in his talents.
Fans, especially younger athletes, are also noticing Dial’s drive to succeed. The Jenks Trojan placed sixth as a freshman at state and finished second as a sophomore. Support from fans and his tribe only add fuel to the competitive fire.
“Just to have our Cherokee ancestry behind me and the support of such a great group of strong people is a blessing,” Dial said. “One thing I definitely want to do is inspire other people to do things. Anything is possible for anybody if you set your mind to it.”
Dial starts his junior season and quest for a state championship Friday at a Jenks track meet. He will travel to Taiwan for a meet later this month with Dial Athletics.