Student Athlete Profile: Spencer Patton Puts Academics Before His Athletic Career

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Published January 16, 2019
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The Montclarion

Spencer Patton, a freshman student athlete on the track team at Montclair State University, is ready to make his mark with his new track team — but not right now. Patton made the decision earlier this semester to put academics over his athletic career for the fall semester. A decision most athletes do not make and instead try balancing the two.

“I decided my academics were the most important part,” Patton said. “I wanted to have everything in order with my studies before I start competing.”

Patton discussed his goals for his career at Montclair State.

“My main goal this first semester is to adapt to the new environment, and I think achieving a 3.0 GPA is pivotal to my career at Montclair State in order to declare my major and succeed,” Patton said. “So everything else is going to have to take the backseat as of now. Academics comes first.”

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Spencer Patton practices pole-vaulting with his Emerson Jr./Sr. High School teammates and coach.
Photo courtesy of Spencer Patton

He is currently an undeclared student but has his eyes set on majoring in finance. This will require Patton to achieve a 3.0 cumulative GPA for the fall semester in order to declare a finance major and become a business student at the university.

Patton will begin competing for the Montclair State track team in the spring.

Nearing the middle of his senior year at Emerson Jr./Sr. High School in Emerson, New Jersey, Patton wanted to be a part of a college track team.

Montclair State has always been a school Patton looked into pursuing not only for academics but to be a part of the track team.

“I reached out to the coach of the team here,” Patton said. “He scouted me at Apex Vaulting, my training facility, and then he recruited me from there.”

When asked about how he plans on making his mark with his new track team, Patton has his mind on setting new personal highs and wants to be known as a tough competitor.

“I feel like PRing [personal records] and being the toughest competitor as I possibly can would be the best way for me to make my mark on this new team,” Patton said.

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Patton pole-vaults at a meet during his senior year of high school.
Photo courtesy of Spencer Patton

Patton’s current personal records are 12-foot pole-vaulting and 5-foot-and-10-inch high jump. Patton will not be high jumping for the Montclair State track team. He will only be a pole-vaulter on the team.

For any freshman athlete, older teammates can play a huge role in not only adjusting to the new level of competition but bringing out the best in that freshman athlete. For Patton, he is grateful for his teammates and they have helped him a great amount heading into his first season.

“We have had plenty of team bonding experiences and [have] gone on runs together,” Patton said. “They’ve been super helpful and we have a group chat [that] we can go to for help if we need it.”

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Spencer Patton (left) with his high school teammates. Matt Macias (middle) is also a Montclair State track athlete.
Photo courtesy of Spencer Patton

Jack Rosen, a junior sprinter for the Montclair State track team, believes Patton is one great athlete.

“Spencer is a promising athlete who shows a lot of drive and potential,” Rosen said.

When it comes time for Patton to begin competing, he has his mind set on accomplishing one main goal.

“My biggest goal for my freshman season is to PR and clear 13 feet,” Patton said.

As for now, Patton is focusing on finishing his first college semester strong and works toward that 3.0 GPA so he can achieve both his athletic and academic goals.

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