PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Lake Erie College junior pole vaulter Eric Klucar (Medina, Ohio/Highland) has been invited to represent Team USA at the 2012 World Deaf Athletics Championships to be held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada July 15-21. This is the second year of the event.
"I am really excited about being selected for the team and for the opportunity to participate in the Deaf Championships," said Klucar, who lost his hearing as a toddler while undergoing chemotherapy to battle cancer. "It is a tremendous honor to be able to represent our country at an international competition."
Klucar was selected based on his performances in the pole vault during his first two collegiate seasons. As a sophomore, Klucar set a personal best by clearing 16' during the indoor season which qualified him for the 2011 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field National Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. He also has a best jump of 15' 3" outdoors, set as a freshman.
It was at the national meet where Klucar first learned about the opportunity to participate as part of the USA Deaf Track and Field (USADTF) team, a centrally-governed organization for deaf athletes nationwide affiliated with both the United States of America Deaf Sports Federation (USADSF) and United States of America Track and Field (USATF).
"During the event, I was speaking with another vaulter who had a friend compete for the (USADTF) team and said it was a great program that his friend really liked. He urged me to look into it," Klucar said. "I have since been in contact with the president of the organization and the vault coach as well."
A strong performance this year for the Storm can better position Klucar for a spot on the team. Though he knows that if he achieves his goals during the college seasons, then a spot near the top of the national team will follow.
"I want to make it back to nationals and work towards being an All-American," he said. "My teammates and our coaches push me in training and I owe a lot of my success to them. I just want to push myself and do better each time out."
"This is a great individual honor for Eric and we're really proud of him being selected to represent the United States at an international event," said head coach Bryan Harmon. "He still needs to perform well during the college season to guarantee himself a spot and I think that, as well as the desire to go back to nationals, will give him something to strive for and work hard to achieve."
Klucar and the Storm track and field teams return from their holiday break on Saturday, Jan. 21, by hosting the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) South Division Preview at SPIRE Institute in Geneva.