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Tori Pena joins Altis

Irish record holder - Tori Pena claimed a season's best to place 2nd in a strong women's Pole Vault field.
Ellie Spain

Ellie Spain

ALTIS Director of Education

2012 Olympian, and multiple Irish National Champion – Tori Pena is making the move to Altis. Following in the footsteps of Altis Pole Vault Coach Greg Hull, who coached Pena to her current PR of 4.60m, the UCLA graduate is now set to continue her growth in the event as part of the Altis family.

“Tori joined our group after the world champs in 2010. Her energy and positive outlook on training, competition and life in general have been a great asset to all” said Coach Greg Hull. “It was a real pleasure for me to see her achieve her dream of competing in the 2012 Olympic Games. Some injuries led to a frustrating 2013 and 2014 but hopefully she will be back and healthy for 2015.”

We spoke to Tori to find out more.

Tori, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Let’s start with your home town, where did you grow up?

I grew up and still live mostly in Huntington Beach, CA.

How old are you?

27

What is your Degree in?

I earned a degree in International Development Studies.

What is your current PR?

4.60m/15’1″

Have you competed in other sports?

Growing up I was active in soccer, Irish dancing and track. By sophomore year in high school I had given up Irish dancing to put more energy into pole vault. On my high school team I also competed in the 4 x 100m, 100m, high jump and long jump.

When you’re not on the track, what do you do?

Off the track I enjoy spending as much time outdoors as possible. Whether it’s hiking, going to the beach, paddling around in the harbor or doing yoga, I like to be out and about; enjoying time with my family, boyfriend, and my friends in the great weather we have in Huntington Beach or Phoenix.

What has been the highlight of your career in Track & Field so far?

Hands down competing in the 2012 London Olympics. That year was such a standout year for me, improving my PB from 4.40 to 4.50 enabled me to fulfill my dream of becoming an Olympic athlete. That was also the year I started training with my current coach Greg Hull and wonderful training partners Kelsie Hendry, who has since retired, and Kylie Hutson who is still kicking butt! I’ve learned so much from Greg and these girls have helped pushed me to see what I’m truly capable of achieving.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will” – Suzy Kassem.

Do you have any pre-meet rituals?

Not particularly, I always try and work on visualization before and during the meet and focusing on positive outcomes.

What’s on your pre-meet playlist?

A bit of everything really, Santigold, Daft Punk, Jurassic 5, David Bowie, James Brown…

What are your career goals?

I would love to pursue some sort of career in Public Health…still figuring that one out!

What does Track & Field need to do to build its popularity in North America?

This is a great question and I wish I had the answer. Sadly I don’t, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to have shorter meets to make them more spectator friendly.

What are the 3 most important factors that determine your success?

Drive, support, and belief in your own ability.

What motivates you to reach this success?

I’ve found that I am a highly self-motivated individual. There are things in life and in my vaulting career that I know I am capable of and I think it’s a matter of proving to myself what I can achieve. Of course, you need a supportive team of people around you to help you achieve your goals and dreams!

What has prevented you from succeeding in the past?

Self-doubt is definitely something I’ve struggled with in the past. Everyone struggles with injuries but in most cases with proper time and healing you can overcome them. In my particular case I am always working on my own belief in my abilities. Pole vault is such a mind game and we really need to have a great amount of self-confidence when we jump.

Why did you choose to join Altis?

Now that my coach Greg Hull is joining the Altis team, it seems like a great opportunity for me to work with more talented athletes, coaches and therapists. We can always continue to grow and learn in our sport and Altis offers a great training advantage!

Tori – thanks for talking to us, and welcome to Altis!

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