April 24, 2023
On Saturday, Olympic Gold Medalist and Fredonia native, Jenn Suhr, announced that she will be returning to her alma mater Roberts Wesleyan University as a pole vault coach.
Roberts Wesleyan is a NCAA Division II program located in Rochester, which is very close to where Suhr currently lives. Suhr did not start pole vaulting until she was 22 and wants to give all the pole vaulters and athletes a chance to experience the event and become as the best they can be.
“They have given me the leeway and freedom to develop the most unique pole vault program,” Suhr stated in a Facebook post on Saturday. “When this idea began to unfold, it was of the highest priority to me that any and all pole vaulters, or future pole vaulters, be given an opportunity to improve themselves, challenge themselves and have the chance to learn what I have learned as a professional pole vaulter of 17 years.”
Suhr further states how at Roberts Wesleyan pole vault will be recognized and supported by the athletic program and university.
Having the proper equipment, quality training and coaching is important to finding success in the support. Suhr is certain that at Roberts Wesleyan she will be able to create that environment.
“Not every vaulter has had access to quality coaching, poles and technical training,” Suhr said. Some vaulters may have just started the event later than others and haven’t had a chance to develop. I won’t turn anyone away because of this. We will have an elite squad along with a developmental squad. We will also have two pole vault coaches and RWU RedHawks will have an abundant amount of equipment and poles that few colleges have. I have made sure every aspect and detail to develop students and vaulters is covered.”
Suhr will be joined by Chris Brhel, University of Buffalo vaulter and Brockport State former indoor/outdoor school record holder. The two will be dedicated into building Roberts Wesleyan into a program with sights on future Olympic medals.
“We want to encourage a family atmosphere in which every student athlete is comfortable and included,” Suhr said about the kind of program she looks to build. “We believe in a quality Christian education while seeing progression and self-esteem in our athletes. We will also look to prioritize being competitive. This program will ladder to the highest point in our event. The training and model will be in line with a path to Olympic medals.”
If there is an athlete who knows about winning Olympic medals it is Suhr. She first won Silver in Beijing in 2008 then claimed Gold at the 2012 London Games. Outside of the Olympics, Suhr won Silver at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow; Gold at the 2016 World Indoor Championships in Portland and Silver in 2008 at Valencia; and Bronze at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.