Wearing CIU’s first National Champion ring

Fellowship of the Ring: Coach Jud Brooker, Coach Rusty Shealy and John Hunter James (Photo by Kierston Smith)
January 27, 2021

Columbia International University’s first national athletics champion was recognized in a special athletics chapel service as he was presented with his NAIA championship ring.

As a freshman with the CIU Rams, John Hunter James of Irmo, South Carolina became the NAIA National Champion in men’s pole vaulting at the NAIA meet in Brookings, South Dakota on March 7, 2020, clearing the bar at 5.20m (17.06 feet).

Also receiving rings were Track & Field Head Coach Jud Brooker and Pole Vaulting Coach Rusty Shealy.

Watch video of the winning vault by John Hunter James here.

More recently, on Jan. 25, 2021, James was named both the Appalachian Athletic Conference Men's Indoor Field Athlete of the Week and the NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association) Men's Indoor Track and Field Student-Athlete of the Week. The honors came after taking first place in the Samford Open, clearing 4.85m (15'11 feet). The mark is the top height in both the NAIA and the NCCAA this season, and James has already qualified for the 2021 NAIA Indoor National Championship.

Brooker says James’ most recent accomplishments are commendable, especially since he has just recovered from a serious ankle injury.

“To come back in his first competition in almost a year and have the top mark in the nation is a significant accomplishment and a testament to his work ethic,” Brooker said.

What’s your sport? Excitement is growing on the CIU campus with an expanding athletics program. Discover more at CIURams.comRequest information on enrollment or call (800) 777-2227, ext. 5024.