South Dakota’s Chris Nilsen Wins Second Career NCAA Pole Vault Championship
One year after winning the indoor pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Track Championships, South Dakota sophomore Chris Nilsen has added the outdoor title to his resume.
Nilsen captured his second national championship in record-breaking fashion, clearing an NCAA Championship best 19 feet, 1½ inches, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
The Kansas City, Missouri native had one miss early in the competition, but a series of four first-attempt makes vaulted him to the top. Nilsen was the only athlete to clear 18-4 ½. Akron's Matthew Ludwig strategically passed a pair of heights to remain in the competition with him until 18-8 ¼. Nilsen made both 18-8 ¼ and his final height of 19-1 ½ on his first attempts.
In just two years in Vermillion, Nilsen has a pair of NCAA titles along with a silver and a bronze from the NCAA Championships.
Nilsen ranks first in the United States and fourth in the world this season with his personal best of 19-2 ¾. He also ranks fourth in NCAA history with the height.