The results might have been the least important part of Alec Hsu's stay is Guangzhou, China.
The former Desert Vista double state champion in track was granted permission on a travel visa to compete in pole vault for Taiwan in the 2010 Asian Games on Monday.
"It would be great to honor my heritage and compete for my Mom's country," Hsu said. "It's a great chance for me to gain experience at the international level and see how everything plays out."
Hsu, 19, is a sophomore at Rice University with the ultimate goal of making it to the Olympics. The time in China gave him a feel for international competition.
"The sky is the limit for him," said Jeff Guy, who coached Hsu at Desert Vista. "The Olympics should be everyone's goal at his level. Who is to say he can't make it. Maybe this is a new avenue for him to get there."
Hsu finished in a tied for 12th in a field of 13 with a jump of 15-0 feet, 0.75 inches. The winning effort was 18-4.
Whether he gets the Olympics or not, Hsu has shown he is willing to do whatever it takes to get better. He won state in the spring of 2009 with a jump of 15-6. Last year at the Conference USA indoor meet, he cleared 15-7.25. His personal best in outdoor is 16-6.75.
"That was pretty good, but I wanted to get to 17," said Hsu, who was named to the 2010 Division I All-Academic team. "I have been working with new poles (smaller ones at 16 feet), and I have been getting used to it. They are not as stiff, and it seems to be helping me."
A third-generation pole vaulter - his grandfather, living in China, started the trend; his father and brother have continued it - Hsu took up vaulting the summer before he entered eighth grade.
Guy remembers Hsu being reluctant at first, especially of hitting the pit post-jump. But Guy also remembers the raw talent Hsu showed, evidenced by the 12-foot, 6-inch jump he hit his first season that remains a DV freshman record.
He has come a long way since then and took the proper steps to represent the heritage of his mother, Yun-San Hsu.
Hsu hopes to do well in China, but knows the competition is tough. He is more concerned with his upcoming sophomore season with the Owls.
"By the time I am done I want to be competing for a national title and clear 18," he said. "I have to extend my takeoff and swing through the pole better. I don't turn over at the top very well. Those are the little things I need to get down before I can get reach the next level."