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Pole vaulter Patterson trying to make most of training

Brian Johnson

Christian Patterson, a Shawnee High School alum, is trying to make the most of his training.

COVID-19 interrupted his 2020 spring track and field season as a pole vaulter at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. Then, during the course of the 2019-20 winter indoor season, an injury hampered his efforts.

Despite the two torn ligaments in his ankle suffered in January, Patterson managed to finish seventh at the Summit League Indoor Championships in Fort Wayne, Indiana in late February.

The Golden Eagles were one week away from their first spring outdoor meet at home when the coronavirus pandemic kicked in and practically wiped out the sporting world.

“It was really disappointing. I felt like we had a strong, stacked team until COVID-19 hit,” said Patterson. “Everyone is still working, staying in shape as best as we can.”

For Patterson, it's working out in the back of his home in Shawnee while recovering from his injured ankle.

“My training has slowed down because of my injury, day-to-day pain and trying to recover,” Patterson said. “With that, I'm working on my upper-body strength while keeping my back strengthened and compressing my ankle while getting it back to its old self.”

Of course, working out alone makes it harder.

“It's a little tedious trying to push yourself and not having someone spot for you on reps. It's a little bit of a struggle,” said Patterson.

Prior to his injury, Patterson cleared a collegiate best 16 feet, 1.25 inches back on Dec. 19 at the Bob Timmons Challenge in Lawrence, Kansas which led to a sixth-place finish.

In five Summit League Championship competitions (indoor and outdoor combined) Patterson possesses three seventh-place efforts. His latest Summit League performance was a 15-5.5 at Fort Wayne. Patterson's best finish was second place in the J.D. Martin Invitational at the University of Oklahoma in Norman on Feb. 8.

Patterson has eclipsed 15 feet or better 19 times during his college career.

With the NCAA permitting an extra year of eligibility for spring sports athletes, Patterson is unsure what he will do. The current junior will have used three years of eligibility for indoor and just two for outdoor.

He says he is thinking about having a redshirt year for indoor in 2020-21 and then participate in both indoor and outdoor in 2021-22.

Whatever the case, Patterson says he has enjoyed his time and is grateful for his experiences at ORU.

“It's a great school. It has given me a chance to get a better relationship with God and our track and field coach Joe (Dial) is awesome. He had helped me so much with the pole vault,” Patterson said. “I enjoy the family environment there and everybody has such a great work ethic.”

A sports management major, Patterson is exploring numerous career paths including being a health training coach, a football or track and field coach or being involved in the insurance field or possibly going into nursing.

He was a track and field and football star at Shawnee High School where he set a school record in the pole vault at 16-2 and was part of a school-record setting 4x100 relay team. He also competed in the 4x400, long jump and open 200.