GREENVILLE – Greenville pole vaulter Ryan Trick committed to the Bethel College track and field team on Tuesday, joining a program that won a national championship this winter.
“It’s definitely a blessing to have this opportunity,” the Greenville senior said of continuing his pole vaulting career in college, “just to be able to do the thing I love for the next four years of my life and just continue on and pressing in my vault and getting better as an athlete in track.”
Trick, the son of John and Mindy Trick, first learned about Bethel from one of his friends, Zach Harrah. The Fairmont alumnus, who now is a freshman at Bethel, competed with Trick during their high school years.
After checking out the team for himself, Trick found it to be a great fit.
“Just the way their team connects there is really awesome,” said Trick, who plans to study business administration. “They’re one unit. Everybody is supporting each other, and that really drew my attention to that. They have a really good record behind them; I think they placed fifth at nationals this year for NAIA, which really was another positive thing. The main thing was just being one unit together and everybody supporting each other.”
Harrah also told Bethel track and field coach Tony Natali about Trick, and the Pilot coach really liked what he saw in the Greenville senior.
“I’m really excited adding somebody with his caliber who’s as athletic as he is and has been able to accomplish what he has,” Natali said. “I’m really excited about that.”
Trick has been one of the top pole vaulters in Ohio. Last year he finished sixth in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I state track and field meet as he cleared 14 feet 4 inches. This winter he finished fifth at the Ohio Association of Track-Cross Country Coaches indoor state championships, clearing 14 feet 9 inches.
“I’m super excited that he gets to move on,” Greenville pole vaulting coach Micah Coblentz said. “I think he’s set up with a great coach at Bethel College, and he’s just going to continue to get better. So I’m pumped for him. I know he’s very happy. I’m very happy for him, and I don’t think he could be in a better situation.”
Bethel has become a national powerhouse in track and field, and this winter the Bethel men won the National Christian College Athletic Association indoor national championship. The Pilots finished fifth at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics indoor national championships.
“I’m really looking forward to it so I can contribute to their team and make more of an athlete out of myself,” Trick said of joining and national title contender, “and just be able to be a part of that team and hopefully make it a better unit for them and contribute my athletic abilities.”
Trick has been such a successful vaulter because of his hard work and his attention to detail, Coblentz said.
“He’s been very coachable through the years and working on the little small things that we have to to just continue to improve,” the Greenville coach said. “He understands the vault. I think if he was put into a position to coach it right now he probably could. He’s been a student of the vault since he was in seventh grade.”
Natali likes Trick’s athleticism and also sees him as someone who will be a leader for the Pilots.
“I look at Ryan as a natural leader,” the Bethel coach said. “I mean his personality is such that he’ll be a leader on our team quickly, and I think he’s the type of kid other kids will gravitate toward and just follow his lead.”
Bethel College competes in the Crossroads League, which is made up of private Christian colleges in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio including Goshen College, Grace College, Huntington University, Indiana Wesleyan University, Marian University, Mount Vernon Nazarene University, Spring Arbor University, Taylor University and the University of Saint Francis.
The Pilots have produced numerous all-Americans, including pole vaulters, but will rely on Trick and other incoming recruits to continue the tradition that the program has established.
“We need to do this,” Natali said of adding Trick to his program. “We’re graduating 24 really good seniors, but we’ve got 34 freshmen coming in. I’m excited about this freshman class. You’ve got to keep recruiting to keep the championships and the high caliber coming. We’re excited about the next wave coming in, and Ryan’s a huge part of that.”
Trick hopes to break Greenville’s school record of 16 feet 1 inch before he graduates high school. Then in college he simply wants to continue to improve.
“I think he’s going to do great,” Coblentz said. “I think he’s going to be competitive where he’s going to be at Bethel, and I think he’ll be able to help the team immediately once he gets there.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.