David Hood, a longtime volunteer track & field coach for the Ravens, earned the No. 1 worldwide ranking in his age group in the pentathlon and pole vault after competing at the 2021 USA Track & Field Masters Championships this summer. Hood also earned the No. 2 worldwide ranking in the decathlon.
The feat is made even more impressive by the fact that Hood, who competed in the men’s 55-59 age group, was competing in the pentathlon and decathlon for only the second time.
The competitions, held at both Iowa State University and Colorado State University in July 2021, comprised a grueling set of track & field events. The pentathlon is a one-day combined event that includes long jump, javelin, 200-meter sprint, discus and 1500-meter run. The decathlon is a two-day combined event that includes 100m, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400m on Day 1, then hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500m on Day 2.
In an email sharing his news with Athletic Director Ned Gonet, Hood humbly described his forays into the Masters Championships — for which he added nine new events to his primary event, pole vault — as “pretty lofty goals,” adding, “Thanks to your support, the support of the other coaches and a very special training partner, I managed to overachieve this summer.”
Hood also credited his work with Ravenscroft athletes as one of the reasons for his success.
“I have benefited greatly from working with the kids, helping them work toward athletic goals and learn some life lessons and, hopefully, giving them some additional positive memories of their time at Ravenscroft,” he said. “I have also been afforded the opportunity to maintain my own conditioning on what I would say is the nicest track facility in Raleigh.”
Gonet praised Hood — parent to Philip and Charlotte ’16 — for the 15 years he has shared his time and talents with Ravenscroft athletes.
“David has made a big impact and been a great mentor to our students,” Gonet said. “Ravenscroft is truly appreciative and thankful to have experienced such dedicated service with our track program and our student-athletes over the years.”
A July 25 Facebook post shared by Pole Vault Carolina reflected Hood’s perspective on growth and character in competition. Hood wrote, “'The most valuable experience I have gained from this week is through those things I did not do well, trying to focus more on not being afraid to fail than on striving for perfection (no chance). Even more impactful to me was observing how my friends (true competitors) reacted when they too did not do as well as they expected. Competing with abandon, not afraid to give it all they could, they displayed incredible sportsmanship, poise and determination when something would not go as wanted – no anger, brief frustration, but a positive self-critique and then on to encouraging others. Just beautiful.”
Congratulations on this outstanding achievement, Coach Hood!
Enjoy this video of Hood’s 4.1-meter pole vault from the USATF Mega-Regional Track & Field Championship on June 5, 2021.
Below, a collage showing Hood's competition in the decathlon events.