Nationally-renowed Rovelto Continues to Train the Best

Head coach Cliff Rovelto is not only coaching student-athletes but also a pair of assistant coaches.

June 23, 2011

 

Just how good of a multi-event coach is Kansas State's Cliff Rovelto?
    
Just listen to a pair of now K-State assistant coaches that moved to Manhattan to train under the head Wildcat coach.
    
"You go around the country asking about which coach you want to train with and the answer is always the same... Cliff Rovelto," said Kasey Hill.  "With every post-graduate you talk to, they said the same thing: `I'm going to train under Cliff as long as I'm competing.' "
    
Bettie Wade adds, "Hands down Cliff Rovelto is the best multi-event coach in the country.  You go anywhere in the world and if the discussion is about the multi-events, Cliff's name is in the conversation."
    
Hill, a product of Boston College, and Wade, a graduate of Michigan, will be in action this weekend at the USA Championships in Eugene, Ore.
    
"I talked to him at the Thorpe Games in Germany two years ago about philosophies and it all made sense," said Hill.  "I just decided to throw all my cards in and come to Kansas.  It's been a great decision."
    
"The man is extremely humble.  He's a low-key man," said Wade.  "I remember the first time I talked to the man, I thought, `This is the man everyone is talking about?'  He was so unassuming, yet the absolute best in the world at what he does."
    
For the record, those who have trained under Rovelto include:
    
Olympians - Steve Fritz (USA), Attila Zsivoczky (Hungry); Sheila Burrell (USA), Austra Skujyte (Lithuania), Luiggi Llanos (Puerto Rico) and Tom Pappas (USA)
    
World Championships - Burrell, Skujyte, Pappas, Moritz Cleve (Germany), Diana Pickler (USA)
    
International Champions - Fritz, World University Games; Zsivoczky, European Under-23; Burrell, Hypometing; Skujyte, European Combined Cup
    
USA National Championships - Fritz, Jill Lancaster (USA), Jill Montgomery (USA), Burrell, Pickler
    
NCAA Champions - Skujyte (2), Ryann Krais
    
Some might find it unique as what Hill and Wade have learned most under the watchful eye of Rovelto.  It's more than just running faster, jumping higher and throwing farther.
    
"Cliff really enjoys the process of training," said Wade.  "He says, `The meets are for the athletes, but the practices are for me.'  He stresses the training so that everything can come together.  It's a process to achieve your best."
    
Hill said, "Coach coached me to some PRs in events, but more importantly, he got my head... my priorities straight.  He stressed to have fun with it and then you're not doing well, you may be trying too hard.  He reminds all of us that the reason we started running track in the first place was because we loved it, so why not have fun with it."
    
For the Wolverines, Wade was a six-time All-American with her highest finish coming in the pentathlon in 2008 at the NCAA Indoor Championship.  Outdoors, Wade twice finished third in the heptathlon, plus was a five-time Big Ten champion in the high jump, long jump, pentathlon and heptathlon.
    
The 24-year-old Wade represented Team USA in 2009 at the IAAF World Championships in Germany, plus won the bi-annual Thorpe Cup last summer.
    
Hill, 25, was a two-time All-American in the pentathlon and heptathlon finishing eighth in the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships, and fourth in the NCAA Outdoor Championships while at Boston College.
    
Last year Hill placed sixth in the Thorpe Cup in helping Team USA defeat Germany in a combined events competition.    
    
While both benefit from Rovelto's coaching, Wildcat athletes have the reward of being able to watch, and learn, from their coaches as athletes that are still talented enough to compete for positions on USA teams.
    
Laughing, Hill said, "We definitely come in handy and Cliff takes advantage of us.  He'll tell an athlete to do this, or do that, and finally he just says, `Casey, show them how to do it.'  At times you're sort of a guinea pig or a trained monkey."
    
Turning more serious, Wade said, "It's one thing for a coach to tell you something, and that's good, but watching someone physically go through it can flip the light: `That's how you do it!' "
    
Wade's personal best is right at 6,000 points in the seven-event competition, while 2011 NCAA champion Ryann Krais is just shy of 6,000, and Hill has a 5,804 total to her credit.

Neither Hill nor Wade thinks it will be strange that they will be competing against one of their athletes, in Krais, this weekend.
    
"Not at all," said Wade.  "She's a great person and we're all teammates excited to be competing.  We'll be pulling for one another."
    
Hill added, "I haven't even thought about that.  We're used to having competitive practices, and this will be another competitive moment.  We're all trying to do our best."
    
And, the goal for each is to continue to do their best through the 2012 Olympics in London, and the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


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