Reed Scale racked up strong numbers in the pole vault as a collegiate athlete, finishing his career with the UCLA Bruins Track & Field team in 2018. Previously named the South Coast Conference Men’s Track & Field Athlete of the Year, Scale was making good progress improving his clearance numbers with his eye on earning a spot at the US Olympic qualifying event…until the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything.
By April of 2020, gym closures forced by public health measures in Scale’s native California made getting workouts in all but impossible. To fill his time, the 25-year-old athlete worked mornings at a high-end butcher shop in Manhattan Beach, California, and spent his afternoons trying to find an open spot to work on his overall fitness and pole vaulting technique. As the pandemic lingered and getting his workouts in became increasingly difficult, Scale wondered if his dream of making the Olympic trials had been completely derailed.
Scale says his spirits were at an all-time low when one of his contacts in the track and field world told him about an opportunity at SPIRE Institute & Academy (IA), One of the largest indoor, professional training and competition complexes in the world, SPIRE features a national/international college preparatory academy for high school student athletes as well as a popular postgraduate program.
Scale learned that SPIRE’s Track and Field Training and Development Director Tim Mack was helping to recruit postgraduate athletes to serve as house parents for young people living and training on campus. Successful candidates would have the opportunity to train on site with Coach Mack, who earned a gold medal for the US Olympic team in 2004 and is one of only 18 pole vaulters in history to clear 6.01 meters or higher.
Excited at the thought of learning from Coach Mack, and impressed by SPIRE’s 750,000 sq. ft. indoor facility, which includes a separate field event areas and two pole vault pits, Scale applied for the position. Several weeks later, he learned he was hired.
Since coming on board at SPIRE, Scale divides his time between his duties as house parent and his training regimen.
“This is the chance of a lifetime,” says Scale. “Working with Coach Mack is proving to be a game-changer for me. He has more than 25 years of track and field experience, and he’s an SEC, NCAA and USA Track and Field champion. He’s not only a world-class athlete. He’s a tremendous developer of talent, too. I’m already benefiting greatly from his experience and his mentorship.”