Jul 13, 2004

U Alumnus Derek Miles Earns Place on U.S. Olympic Team

VERMILLION, S.D. -- A 1996 University of South Dakota graduate has earned a spot on the 2004 Olympic team. Derek Miles, 31, qualified in the pole vault on Sunday at the U.S. Olympic trials in Sacramento, Calif.

His vault of 19 feet, one quarter inch, was enough to gain him third in the competition and a spot in the U history books. Miles is the U's second graduate to make the U.S. Olympic Team, but the first in 84 years. The first, Gene Vidal, competed in the 1920 Olympics in Belgium. Another USD grad, Greg Haydenluck from Canada, competed for his home country in the Winter Olympics in the bobsled in both 1988 and 1992. Miles actually tied with another competitor but because he had fewer misses, was selected as the third team member. Tim Mack, who qualified in first place and Toby Stevenson are the other two members of the team.

In an interview with the Sioux Falls Argus Leader following the competition, Miles said, "All the hard work paid off. I remember sitting on the pits in the (DakotaDome) and dreaming about hitting 19 feet and hoping to make the Olympic team and then to do it, it's an awesome feeling."

Miles, who was an alternate on the 2000 U.S. Olympic pole vault team, just barely missed setting a personal best at 19-2. The qualifying round for the pole vault is Aug. 25 in Athens.

 More information on Derek Miles and his career at the U is available at: http://www.usdcoyotes.com/sports/track/release.asp?RELEASE_ID=1956

About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at www.usd.edu/press/news.

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Doug Murano -- Marketing & University Relations
University of South Dakota
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