(Posted by Dan Genzler of Sioux Falls, S.D., who writes The Genz blog. This blog will also be posted at www.genzmania.blogspot.com)

Derek Miles, an assistant track coach at The University of South Dakota and two-time Olympian, cleared 18-6 3/4 to win the men’s pole vault at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Saturday afternoon at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Miles, a 1996 USD graduate, finished ahead Jeremy Scott, originally of Norfolk, Neb., who placed second at 18-4 1/2. Scott’s sisters are Diana and Terri, both who ran for Coach Lucky Huber at USD with Terri, also serving several years as a coach. Jeremy Scott has also jumped at Miles’s pole vault competitions at the DakotaDome. Now competing with Team Nike, Miles recorded the winning jump ( http://www.universalsports.com/video/assetid=090fb11a-dadb-4d3f-bf09-15899c5622f6.html) on his second attempt at 18-6 1/4. He has now qualified to compete in the IAAF World Track and Field Championships August 27 to Sept. 4 in Daegu, South Korea.

In his ninth year as an assistant coach at USD, Miles has helped the Coyotes develop a top-flight pole vault program along with USD track coaches Dave Gottsleben and Lucky Huber. He helped coach Bethany Buell, a redshirt freshman from St. Louis, Mo., become the Coyotes’ first-ever All-American (second team) with a 13th place finish in the women’s pole vault at the NCAA Division I Championships earlier this month in Des Moines, Iowa.

With this win, it appears that Miles isn’t slowing down at the age of 38. He began 2011 as the top-ranked American vaulter and was fourth in the World Rankings. Earlier this year he had the best vault in the Mall competition at the Drake Relays, going 18-5 1.4. He was runnerup  at both the USA Indoors and USA Outdoors in 2010. He  finished fourth in the pole vault at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, after competing in 2004 in Athens, Greece. 

Also in 2010, he finished fourth at the World Indoor Championships as the only American to qualify for the finals.

Miles, who lives in Tea with his wife Tori (USD graduate and former Coyote sprint and hurdles standout, who coaches the girls track team at Tea Area HS), competed in the prestigious Diamond League Series last summer, taking second at the competition in Paris. He had a vault of 19-1, which was the highest U.S. mark during the season. He also finished third at the 2010 Continental Cup as the only American competing. 

In his 11-year career, he has ranked among the top 10 worldwide seven times and been in the U.S. top-10 rankings every year, including top=ranked four times.  He won the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials and was the IAAF 2008 World Athletics Champion. He has also placed highly in several international meets during his illustrious career.