Athlete pursues greatness

“I live by a saying by Ray Lewis ‘I’m pissed off for greatness’ because if you aren’t pissed off for greatness, then you’re okay with being mediocre. I just want to be better than everyone else,” senior pole vaulter Michael Juergens said. “Every day I wake up and that’s what pushes me, through workouts, through lifting. I just want to be better.”

Juergens career started in seventh grade after he took part of the football, basketball, and the track team, learning that he excelled most in track.

Juergens attended Saint Clair High School earning letters in both football and track. He also helped lead his team to four track conference championships in a row. As a track athlete Juergens earned the school record in the pole vault with a height of 14-6.

“I was a mediocre jumper in high school and Coach Rutledge recruited me to do the heptathlon here. But, my freshman year I just wasn’t working out, I missed a lot of practices. So, they moved me just to pole vault. Then I started doing really good at it and coach Schiding just kept training me. I got stronger, faster and then started getting top 16 in the nation every year.”

Since starting at southern Juergens has attended nationals three times for pole vault and narrowly missed out on being an All-American when he took 13 place at the NCAA Championships with a height of 15-7 last outdoor season.

“He’s excelled in the pole vault; I think he’s just going to be another one in our 17 foot club. We’ve only had five people come through here to make it to 17 feet and they’ve all been All-Americans and National Champions. He’s worked hard, he deserves a good national meet,” Head Coach Tom Rutledge said.

Juergens will end this season after competing in the 2013 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships.