Osage pole-vaulter sets his sights on USA Trials for Pan Am Games

Dillon Lookout was in trouble.

He was the last one to jump in the 6A state championship boys pole vault finals and didn’t even have to make the leap, but he wanted to.

He missed the first two jumps and on the third he tucked his pole under his right arm, charged and threw his body over the pole.

“On his third jump if he would have missed it he would have gone home,” said Lookout’s grandfather Mike Jones. “He (Lookout) took a deep breath and said a prayer.”

He cleared the jump with a mark of 16-0 feet, winning his first state championship title.

But, the moment he stepped onto the winner’s podium it was just that, a moment.

A heartbeat later he was already thinking about his next goal – a national title.

The 18-year-old Jenks High School incoming senior started vaulting when he was in the seventh grade.

Lookout, Osage, had relatives who vaulted but it was his father Sammy Lookout who made a lasting impression on him as a pole-vaulter.

“My dad introduced me to it, I liked it,” Lookout said. “When you’re out there it’s just you and no one else. It [tests] what you can do and your ability.”

Lookout grew up in Pawhuska and attended Pawhuska High School but later moved to Jenks with his grandparents for better opportunities.

It was in Jenks two years ago when he started to eat, sleep and breath pole vaulting.

But before that he liked to wrestle.

When he arrived in Jenks he signed up for wrestling but the program was full, so the track coach took him under his wing.

He pole vaulted in the 7th and 8th grades but didn’t take it seriously until he was a freshman.

“I wasn’t very great,” Lookout said.

Then Dillon remembered how great his dad was and decided he wanted to be just like him, and maybe even better. Sammy Lookout was a pole vault state champion in 1988.

Lookout started training with Joe Dial, the head track and field coach at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa who won the bronze medal at the 1989 World Indoor Championships in Budapest.

“It happened my freshman year, I started going to ORU, met with the coach Joe Dial,” Lookout said. “I was talking to him about American records, world records, and I saw him jump on his videos and I was like, ‘I want to be like that.’”

Lookout’s freshmen year he traveled with a track and field club called Personal Best Athletics out of Tulsa.

He got better with every jump but it wasn’t enough for a state title. His sophomore year he popped off the pole and was injured. He wanted to take a break but was encouraged not to.

“The breakthrough I made, is what makes the sport amazing,” he said. “My dream goal ever since then was to be a gold medalist.”

Lookout hasn’t forgotten that goal.

Jones said he and Dillon’s grandmother Star Jones, lost count of the various things Dillon has done to make himself better.

Every Wednesday evening Dillon could be found training with Dial, he spent summers in the scorching heat practicing three times a day and when he’s not out pole vaulting he’s doing pull-ups on the back of his bedroom door.

Jones said pole vault became Dillon’s way of life and like other star professional athletes; it’s who he is.

“If you were to ask who Dillon is or what he is – he’s a pole vaulter. That’s just what he is and we finally figured that out. Mickey Mantle’s a baseball player, Dillon Lookout’s a pole vaulter,” Jones said. “He never said, ‘you know, I wanted to do this or that when I grow up,’ he’s a pole vaulter, it’s like asking a horse why it’s a horse.”

Lookout said the way he is with his sport shows everything he is as a person.

He said vaulting has always been in his blood; it’s just taken him some time to see that.

“It shows how my characteristics are in my life,” he said. “You have to be mentally strong, if you have the mental game you can do whatever you want.”

Dillon’s high school track coach Tom Stockton has coached him for the last two years.

He said when Lookout started, he jumped a 14-0 and can now clear 16-5. He said he did it all by simply wanting to.

“His desire is to be the best . . . he is very driven,” Stockton said. “He never settles for anything less.”

His sophomore year Dillon didn’t win state like he planned but he did get better. He cleared 16-0 and was a national contender.

He started winning at all the meets he traveled to with the track and field club but found more pleasure in coaching others.

His desire to help others became a well-known characteristic.

He said helping others made his success that much sweeter.

“I like to see people succeed and be better in how they want to be,” he said. “When I coach I love coaching for the fact that I get to help people and see them do better, it really makes me feel really good, I just love to help people, I like to teach it to other kids so they can carry that on.”

Dillon is the son of Suzanne Lookout and Sammy Lookout. He has three younger sisters and a younger brother who he encourages everyday.

He said his motivation and determination are all thanks to family in Jenks and Pawhuska.

He said it’s because of them and his mental strength that he’s able to be successful.

“That was my determination and motivation to be the best,” he said. “If you want to be the best, you got to work like them.”

Early this year Lookout broke the Jenks school record of 16-5 and jumped 16-6. He was nationally ranked, tied for 9th place in high school boy’s pole vault. For the last two years he’s participated in the Juniors Nationals Outdoors, Indoors New Balance and Summer New Balance Outdoor Nationals and will take part in the USA Trials for Pan Am Games this summer.

But there’s still a lot more he wants to do and he was immediately reminded of that when he stood on the podium of the state championships in May.

“I understand it’s a state meet but I want more, I want to be national champion and world champion, I want this more than this,” Lookout said, motioning to the state meet. “I want to be remembered.”