All Access with pole vaulter Joe Noonan

Thursday, February 26 2009 - OVC Championships - Joe Noonan

Athlete recovers from flu in time for conference

Richard Morse/Staff Reporter

Sophomore pole vaulter Joe Noonan prepares his approach during the Illinois Intercollegiate track meet on Jan. 31 in Lantz Fieldhouse. (Erin Matheny/The Daily Eastern News)
Sophomore pole vaulter Joe Noonan prepares his approach during the Illinois Intercollegiate track meet on Jan. 31 in Lantz Fieldhouse. (Erin Matheny/The Daily Eastern News)
Sophomore pole vaulter Joe Noonan is not your average athlete. Most run, pass and jump - Noonan flings himself more than 15 feet in the air with a metal pole - just for fun. Earlier this week, Staff Reporter Richard Morse sat down with Noonan to discuss his joy of falling from such heights and his love for the Chicago Bears.

How did you first get interested in pole vault?

My sister started doing it first when she was in high school and I went to her meets and thought it was pretty awesome. My coach wouldn't let me do it since I was in junior high, but as soon as I got to high school my freshman year I immediately started vaulting and I've been doing it ever since.

Have you ever competed in other events?

I've done the shot put, discus, 4x200, 300 hurdles, 110 hurdles, long jump, high jump, 60-meter dash and javelin. My main success was with vault so I stuck with it.

What has happened with your vaulting recently?

I just got over the flu this season. I've had a couple bad days. Last week I should have gotten way higher than that, but I just kept coming down on the bar. I had enough height, just not enough penetration. It will happen this conference meet this weekend, it will happen.

Indoor or outdoor, which do you prefer?

Indoor. I love indoor. On a good day outdoor, it's a regular day indoor.

There's no wind, there is no cold, there's no rain, it's just calm.

When there is wind blowing in your face when running, it feels like you're going a lot slower than you are.

Pole vault is super-mental as it is.

If you don't think you're going to make it to the pit and you think you're going to land in the metal box, then you're going to be a little cautious about going upside down.

What is the hardest thing about a vault?

Learning the technique. This is year six for me, and I still haven't gotten it down yet. If it's not the technique, it's the mental aspect. It's not something you do all the time. The only way to learn how to vault is to vault. Getting upside down is a totally new feeling.

What is your favorite thing about a vault?

The clearance and falling down, knowing you made the bar, and being on the medal stand.

What's going through your head at a meet?

I'm trying not to think. If you overthink, you're going to start questioning things, and you're going to start doubting.

You don't want to start thinking ahead of time.

I think of the Nickelback song Burn it to the Ground "No fear, no doubt, all in, balls out."

Just try to give it all. If you're cautious when you're running toward the box and then you doubt, you're going to be in big trouble. When you're cautious is when you're going to get hurt.

Is there one quote in your life you try and live by?

No regrets.

What is your favorite pole vaulting memory?

When I was 16 and I was competing at Junior Nationals, and it was my last attempt. It was 15 feet. I was either going to win or get fourth place. I gave it all and I made the bar. I was standing on the podium and getting my medal. It was awesome.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

I want to go into virtual reality. I don't want to be a teacher, I don't want to sit behind a desk. It has to be fun. I can't just work an 8-5 job and not have it be fun.

What is one thing you are passiosteepleweb about?

The Bears.

I'm on their Web site every day hoping that there is something new to talk about.

How do you feel about the Bears and Mike Brown?

He's a great player when he's there, but he's not there enough.

I say we need to go with someone who is less injury-prone.

It stinks that we have let him go. I hope we pick up someone good because our secondary is getting pretty weak.

More about Joe Noonan

Three things you cannot live without

1. Computer

2. Pole Vault

3. The Bears

Favorite cereal: Granola, it's healthier

Movie: "Gladiator"

Color: Silver

Sport besides pole vault: Football

Food: Steak


• 2008 Ohio Valley Conference Freshman Athlete of the Year during the indoor season

• Second-Team All-OVC during the outdoor season last season

• EIU Invite Pole Vault Champion

• Big Blue Classic Pole Vault

• Indiana Billy Hayes Pole Vault Champion

Richard Morse can be reached at 581-7944 or at