Keeping it Classy

My photo
Team Tuxedo is a small group of Elite Pole Vaulters with big dreams of having the honor of competing in the Olympic Games. We promote the great sport of Pole Vault with class and integrity and support its growth and survival through competition, coaching and training.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Nor Cal Summer Pole Vault Series

We have some great events coming up if you are a vaulter in Northern California. Below you will find a schedule for opportunities to compete. Email the contacts below for more information regarding each event.

NorCal Summer Pole Vault Series
Date                Meet                                       Location                      Time                
Sat., July 12 - Gold Country -                         Meadow Vista -          10:00 a.m. -   
Sat., July 19 - Team Tuxedo -                         North Auburn -          10:00 a.m.  Prize Money Fundraiser for Sep. 12th Street Vault. Cost $20, Donations Appreciated, and you can buy extra attempts for $5.   
Sat., July 26 - Yolo Striders -                          Davis High School-     10:00 a.m. -    
Sat., Aug  2 - Gold Country -                          Meadow Vista -          10:00 a.m. -     
Fri., Aug  8  - Power's Street Vault #1 -         Downtown Auburn -  2:00 p.m. Registration Required
Sat., Aug 16 - Team Tuxedo -                        North Auburn -          10:00 a.m. - Prize Money Fundraiser for Sep. 12th Street Vault. Cost $20, Donations Appreciated, and you can buy extra attempts for $5.   
Sat., Aug 23 - Yolo Striders -                          Davis High School-     10:00 a.m. -     
Sat., Aug 30 - Gold Country -                         Meadow Vista -          10:00 a.m. -   
Sat., Sep 6   - Team Tuxedo -                         North Auburn -          10:00 a.m. -Prize Money Fundraiser for Sep. 13th Street Vault. Cost $20, Donations Appreciated, and you can buy extra attempts for $5.   

Venue Locations & Email Contact:.
Gold Country PV Center – 1025 Grange Road, Meadow Vista, CA 95722 – Nick Vogt -
Team Tuxedo – 25238 Table Meadow Road, Auburn, CA 95602 – Paul Litchfield -
Yolo Striders – Davis High School, 315 W 14th St. Davis, CA 95616  - Mike Hochderffer -
Power’s Street Vault – The Power Club, 195 Harrison Ave. Auburn, CA 95603 – Paul Litchfield -

Monday, June 23, 2014

Practice and Upcoming Events

We had a great turn out for Saturday's workout. A solid group of vaulters from six different High Schools, one college and one masters athlete. Thanks to all who made the trip out.

Practice this week will be.

Tuesday June 24th at 6:00pm

Friday June 27th at 6:00pm

We won't be having practice June 30th-July 5th

Dates to remember

June 30-July 4
Stacy Dragilas Vault Camp at Sac State

Saturday June 28th
Golden West Invitational at Sac State

Friday June 27th @ Sac State
USATF Championship Mens Decathlon Pole Vault 2pm
USATF Championship Womens Vault 6pm

Sunday June 29th @ Sac State
USATF Championship Mens vault 11am

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer Practices, All-Comers, and Street Meets

We've got a nice new top pad for the pit that needs to get some quality use. 

Summer Practices are about to get started.
Our first Session will be an Open Pit here at Team Tuxedo this Saturday 6/21 at 10am
$20 to vault and get some high quality coaching.
Please RSVP, and let us know if you will be needing any poles. If you don't have a liability waiver on file, email me for a copy if you are under the age of 18 and your parent will not be on site to fill one out for you. 

I will start posting practice dates and times here and on facebook. I am getting a lot of requests for Wednesday nights, so that will most likely start happening. 

Other things to put in your calendar. 
Street Vaults!
Team Tuxedo will be hosting 2 Street Vaults here in Auburn, Ca at the Power Club Microbrewery on Friday Aug 8th, and Sep 12th during Auburns Cruise Night, Classic Car Show. The cost will be $30/ athlete and will include a hot sandwich and a drink (microbrew if you are over 21) provided by the Power Club. We will have food and drink available for sale and a beer garden for parents and fans, a DJ and an MC. Full event details will be coming soon as I finish the flier, liability waiver, and registration forms. You won't want to miss out on these events. 
I will be hosting a series of weekend All-Comers Meets to raise money to pay more Elite Vaulters from around the country to be able to travel and compete at the Sep. 12th event. Details on those dates and times to follow shortly.  

There are also a lot of other great Nor Cal PV events coming up. 
- Don't miss out on Olympic Champion, Stacy Dragila's Pole Vault Camp to take place at Sacramento State University you can get the details here at
- The Golden West Invitational is right around the corner,
- The good folks of Yolo Striders will be hosting All-Comers Meets at Davis High School and possibly a few other venues. Dates TBA. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Presenting Sam Pierson the New Tuxedoman

Photo Courtesy of Alan Versaw

This weekend, at the USA Indoor National Championship, some of you may notice that there is a gentleman pole vaulting in a bow tie who is not me. His name is Sam Pierson, and he is the new Tuxedoman. We had big plans to introduce him at the Simplot Games where we could jump together at our old training grounds, in our Tux's and could announce ourselves properly, finally making our dream of a Team Tuxedo a reality. But in my attempts to prepare for the competition I decided to land in the plant box at practice and separate my right shoulder and top two ribs. I'm healing up and hope to compete in a few outdoor meets before hanging up my spikes for good, but in the meantime, Sam has been flying high, securing his place at USA Indoors Ranked 9th in the Nation in a tie with former team mate and training partner Levi Keller, and Elite vaulter Jordan Scott. Not too shabby for a guy making his first appearance at a USA Championship.
Sam holds a special place in my heart for many reasons.
I coached him in college alongside of Dave Nielsen.
We trained together at Idaho State, with a unit of vaulters that was beyond crazy and successful, to name a few Levi Keller (18'+ vaulter, American Ninja Warrior, currently ranked #9 in the USA), Mike Arnold (18'8” vaulter, currently ranked #3 in the USA), Sam and myself.
We both have spines made from Kmart parts. In 2011 Sam bulged L4-5 and L5-S1. After 7 months of rehab he started jumping again in April of 2012 until a disc bulged in his neck pinching a nerve root to his right arm. The majority of his arm went into atrophy with the loss of the motor and sensory nerve function, and as the weeks progressed all the muscles on the right side of his upper back, chest and arm had shriveled up to half the size of the left. 9 months of rehabilitation later, Sam was healthy and vaulting again in January of 2013. 2013 proved to be a busy year (did I mention that Sam is a registered Nurse and during all this was working full-time at a hospital to support his wife and new born son? True story) Sam and his family decided to move to Colorado to get there new lives started. Sams wife Emmy landed a high enough paying job to support the family while Sam takes some time off work in 2014, to train and rest properly, so that he can pursue his dream of one day competing on the Olympic stage. Now a stay at home Dad, Sam is training full-time, switched from 16' to 16'5” poles and has already jumped a new lifetime best of 5.45m (17'10.5”) and will jump much higher in 2014.

Photo Courtesy of Alan Versaw

I can't think of a better fit for the Tuxedo. As my body wanes the idea can live on through him and others. A reminder that pole vault is fun and so very special. Despite what goes on in the politics of track and field we all need to be reminded from time to time how fortunate we are to participate in an event that is an adventure every time we depart down the runway, and should leave us all smiling no matter what the results on paper. What better an optimistic reminder than a guy strutting around in a spandex tuxedo.
Here are Details on Sams life and Career

HS-Pueblo South High School
HS PR-15' 8 1/2"
Runner up at 4A State Meet 2005 (Colorado)
State Champ 2006-jumped 15 8.5 setting Class 4A state meet record
HS Coach was Dad--Mark Pierson
Got some coach mentoring from Pat Manson
College PR--5.37 (17' 7")
Division 1 NCAA All-American
College Accolades--3x PV runner up in the Big Sky conference. 2x PV Conference champ, 1x conference champ in Heptathalon setting at the time the Big Sky conference meet record with 5456 (Only did 2 Heptathalon competitions in his college career). Tied for 6th place at 2011 NCAA indoor championships. competed at 2008 NCAA outdoor championship.
Degree--Bachelor of Science in Nursing- Licensed Registered Nurse
Currently living and training in Centennial Colorado back with Dad as coach. 
Photo Courtesy of Alan Versaw
Sam in his own words....
"My wife is supporting my pole vaulting ass while I take care of our son and chase the dream. I am the pole vault coach at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch Colorado.
When I am not chasing around my awesome son and cleaning house I like to get outside. Hunting and fishing have always been passions of mine. When I get the chance I will go balls out down a mountainside on a mountain bike. Doing flip tricks off of anything that looks fun and awesome is a part of everyday life.  
Interesting fact: I bulged 2 discs in my lumbar spine in September 2011 (L4-5, L5-S1). After rehab I started jumping in April 2012 and bulged a disc in my neck losing feeling in part of my right arm and hand. I took the rest of the year off of training and started back up in January 2013.  
I just jumped my lifetime PR 1/19/14 of 5.45m at the Air Force Academy.
That being said I have been very blessed by God. I attribute my talents, abilities, and recovery to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
Both of my brothers pole vaulted in high school (Jesse and Daniel)
My dad's lifetime PR is 16' and he is still vaulting. My mom's PR is 8' when she started to pole vault my senior year of high school (2006).
I met and married the love of my life at ISU. Emmy brightens my day each and every day. She pole vaulted at ISU with a lifetime best of 12'7"."
This is Sam Pierson, Tuxedoman

Monday, December 30, 2013

Get Ready for the Summit

Every pole vaulters favorite event of the year is right around the corner. The Reno Pole Vault Summit is such a wonderful event that sneaks up on all of us every year. With the holiday season taking up the majority of our time, we keep our plans and preparation for such an event in the back of our minds on the "to be dealt with list" and as it approaches, many of us panic. Although the weather has been outstanding in Northern California this winter, it hasn't changed the schedules of when area High Schools bring there pits, and standards out of wherever it is that they hide them, so that the athletes that like too take part in more than just the regular outdoor season have a place to practice. The other problem I see is that no one really knows how they are going to respond in competition each year, until they actually compete, and there are hardly any competitions before the all exciting, adrenaline pumping Summit, following the long drought of off-season.Which as a spectator, I must say, is a recipe for a pretty spectacular and entertaining acrobatic show, as a coach and supporter of safety, its not always the best situation. So my friends and fellow coaches in the area decided it be best if we hosted a few smaller pole vault meets at my place leading up to the Summit to help athletes properly prepare for the unpredictable variables associated with a competitive scenario.
I'm offering private lessons if you need more help preparing for the meet, the outdoor season, or even knowledge on college recruiting and college preparation. We are here to help, and I hope you can join us at my little field of dreams. 

contact me for questions at:

Meet Dates/Times
Saturday January 4th,   12:00 pm
Saturday January 11th, 12:00 pm
Cost: $10

Team Tuxedo Park, aka My Place
25238 Table Meadow rd.
Auburn, CA 95602

You must have a parent present to sign a liability waiver if you are under the age of 18. Otherwise I can email you one to bring along with you to the meets. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

An Awesome Pierson Visit

It’s been a crazy three weeks after the birth of my son. It was strange and awesome to be a father on father’s day. Meanwhile, we have had lots of welcome visitors, family and friends checking up on us and showing great support. Amongst them were my dear friends Sam and Emmy Pierson, both Idaho State Alumni and previous athletes I had the pleasure of coaching alongside of Dave Nielsen during my career at the University. Being new parents themselves, they have gone from being my students, to being my teachers and roll models in parenting and keeping up an active, happy and healthy lifestyle.

Difficult to put in the proper phrasing, Sam Pierson and Levi Keller (who I have to mention if I mention this side of Sam) are the most gifted “natural gymnast’s” (who were never gymnast’s) I have ever met. The pairing of the two of them while at Idaho State was something extraordinary to see. Modern day acrobats creating physical challenges for one another on a daily basis, from standing gainers for distance, handstand walk racing down the football stadium bleachers, to creating and naming there own flip tricks off of walls and trees. I could probably write a short book about all those stories, but I started writing today with different intentions in mind. Though they seem just out of my grasp of thought now that my memories and imagination are wondering, it could have something to do with the lack of sleep these past three weeks, the Black Keys blasting in the background I’m singing along too, the baby I’m rocking in a swing with my right foot while I type, or the 32 oz of French pressed coffee I just polished off that is the only thing that keeps my eyes open anymore.

Back on track, after being cooped up in my house for weeks with the new and confusing adventure of parenting I knew to take full advantage of one of my craziest friends coming through town. Sam, Emmy and baby Colton stayed with us for close to a week. Sam being a fellow brother of back pain and severe disc issues, we had planned to pole vault together while he was in town, but the long travel demanded a few days of recovery and rest first. So on those “recovery and rest days”, we went on epic advanced mountain bike rides both having a few decent flights through the air over our handle bars, played way too many holes of disc golf, and went rock climbing both taking trips up the wall on lead.

So after those three days of “rest”, we decided to jump. Maybe not the best setup for a session, but we still managed to have a lot of fun. Both going straight to our full approach runs we only put the bar up at 5.40m (17’8.5”) which would be a new backyard record. We failed to clear it, but had some exciting (when I see exciting I mean scary) jumps. We videoed most of them, and I thought I would share some.

Despite all the chaos, Sam has one of the classiest takeoffs in the business and those of you young folks out there looking for a model to mimic, here it is. Apologies for my old video camera that makes slow motion into a blurry mess, hopefully you can catch my meaning. I tried to freeze his takeoff in the video, so don’t think that your computer is frozen.

                                                Here is me showing you how not to takeoff. 

These are just two funny jumps of Sam and then Me