Steven Beck, originally from Post Falls, has challenged himself at every turn, and battled a host of injuries along the way that have threatened his pole vaulting career, all for the pursuit of a conference championship.
Under the guidance of pole vaulting coach Mike McPherson, Beck placed second at this year’s Big Sky Indoor Championships in Pocatello following an injury which included breaking a pole for the second time. When it broke, 11 stitches were needed in his right hand, threatening permanent damage.
His junior season of high school, he broke his back. Both times, he made a full recovery.
“You have to have a strong mentality when it comes to this sport, you have to be very confident and believe in yourself,” Beck said. “Like any other super pro athlete, I just believed I could be number one and I guess it worked out.”
Former track and field head coach Dave Neilson recruited Beck out of high school, offering him a scholarship worth near 50 percent of his tuition, which encouraged Beck to choose ISU.
Making the transition from high school to the collegiate level was difficult on Beck. He explained that he was used to being the “top-dog” back home, and suddenly found himself at the bottom of the pack.
Last spring, at the outdoor championships, Beck failed to clear the 15-foot-11-inch clearance mark, falling short of the conference’s top spot based on attempts.
“We’re always working on how to increase our technique, getting better with consistency and confidence,” Beck said on McPherson. “Having a new head coach is a little bit of a different edge, so anything he has new to bring to the field will definitely help me.”
Currently, Beck is double-majoring in marketing and management and is on track to graduate in May. While the future is still uncertain, Beck has a good feeling on what his next step will be.
“I just thought [double-majoring] would bring more opportunity and it wasn’t that many more credits,” Beck said. “I have a couple job offers that I will potentially pursue or I will definitely pursue my MBA.”
While at ISU, he has learned many things from his teammates, especially when he had an opportunity to train with Mike Arnold, a member of the 2016 United States World Indoor Team.
“He gave me a lot of tips, skills and knowledge,” Beck said. “He already had a really strong mentality and was a hard worker, and it pushed me to be like him.”
Since coming to ISU, Beck has made various improvements including increasing his weights and gymnastics abilities while using bigger poles.
His many injuries have never stopped him and he continues to improve.
He says his teammates have taught him the value of hard work and camaraderie, which he plans to use at the outdoor championship.