Shocker pole vault coach soars toward her Olympic dream

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Wichita State University’s Pole Vault Coach Aliyah Welter is in her first year training collegiate athletes. She also has her own hopes of competing at the next level.

The young coach is working to qualify for the 2024 Team USA Track and Field Olympic Trials.

“I think it could be a realistic goal, and if I don’t give myself a chance to try, I think I would always regret it,” Welter said.

Welter has been an athlete most of her life. She was a level 10 gymnast before picking up a pole in seventh grade. She continues to climb to the top of her sport.

“Very doable for her to make it to the trials. She right now is approaching a mark that will get her to the United States Olympic trials,” said WSU Head Coach Steve Rainbolt.

The 24-year-old graduated from the University of Louisville in 2023 as a five-time All-American pole vaulter. Her college coach, Brooke Ransick, is what brought Welter to Wichita.

“My coach was a pole vaulter here, and Coach Rainbolt was her head coach,” said Welter. “And [Ransick] still holds the school record outdoors in the pole vault.”

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When Ransick found out WSU was hiring, she recommended Welter for the position. Now, Ransick mentors Welter as a coach and still trains her virtually as an athlete. Welter has learned to manage her time to train both herself and the team.

“Somewhere during the day, either first thing in the morning or at noontime or at the end of the day, she finds a way to fit training in. And I’m really impressed with her work ethic and her, you know, dedication,” explained Rainbolt.

The Shocker athletes also help Welter with training.

“It’s hard that I ever have to ask more than once if they’re free to come out and catch videos for me for about an hour. And they are more than helpful to come out and just made that transition so much easier in that realm,” said Welter.

“It’s a cool deal. It’s really awesome, I think, for a young athlete to know that they are working with a coach who is still getting after it at a high level,” added Rainbolt.

Welter continues to inspire the next as she aspires to compete alongside the best.

“Knowing that the U.S. is so deep in the pole vault, just being able to be there and be among those competitors, it would just be incredible,” she said.

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