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Raising the Bar. Yes, Literally.

A man, a stick and 18 feet of air. They don’t call it a leap of faith for nothing. 

Rory Quiller ’07 is the first to admit that Binghamton University was barely on his radar when he was a high school pole vaulter being recruited by top track programs and Ivy League schools across the country.

But Quiller took a tip from his dad, Jerry, who coached Army track and field for 13 years, and added Binghamton as the final stop on a whirlwind recruiting tour.

“When I arrived at Binghamton, it was just night and day between the other schools I’d visited. It was just such an incredible fit,” says the 24-year-old graduate student at the Binghamton School of Management. “Every person I talked to — the guys on the team, the coaching staff, everybody — just made me feel at home.”

On March 14, 2008, Quiller brought something home that no student athlete at Binghamton had achieved in the history of the University: an NCAA Division I championship.

Ask Quiller how he consistently bumps the bar higher and higher and the answer is simple. “Faith.” Not faith in the pole vaulting gods, but faith in the people around him.

“It’s all about understanding that the program you’re in is the right program for you,” says Quiller, who nailed a personal best of 18 feet 6 ½ inches a week before the NCAA finals. “I have faith in our training staff and track coaches. I buy into it so much that when I get to a personal record height, I’ll be on the runway and be totally confident that I’m going to make it.”

That same faith is helping him move past the recent disappointment of not qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Quiller notes that two of the qualifiers for the U.S. vaulting team are 36 and 40 years old, meaning he’ll likely have four more cracks at the team before he hangs up his vaulting pole.

As a senior, Quiller applied to the School of Management to stay at Binghamton for his final year of track eligibility. But in the process, he discovered a passion for organizational behavior, something he wants to pursue for a PhD, hopefully at Binghamton.

But perhaps the best reason to stick around Binghamton is that his little brother Robb, another champion pole vaulter, has joined the class of 2012.

If that doesn’t make it feel like home,” says an excited Quiller, “I don’t know what will.”

Learn more about the Binghamton Track and Field [] team and the excitement of Bearcat Athletics [].

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Last Updated: 1/13/09