USD Alum Chris Nilsen Claims 3rd-Straight U.S. Title
EUGENE, Ore.—South Dakota alumnus Chris Nilsen ’20 captured his third-straight U.S. Outdoor Championship pole vault title on Saturday night inside Hayward Field.
Nilsen was the only athlete to make 19-4 ¾ (5.91m) in the competition, clearing the bar on his first attempt. He again finished atop an incredibly competitive field that saw five men surpass 19 feet on the day. Nilsen is ranked No. 2 in the world behind defending Olympic and World Champion Mondo Duplantis (Sweden).
With Saturday’s finish, Nilsen qualified for his third World Outdoor Championships (2017, 2022). He will don the red, white, and blue at this year’s World Championship meet in Budapest, Hungary, alongside recent college graduates Zach McWhorter and Zach Bradford. The pole vault qualifying round is scheduled for Aug. 23 (3:15 a.m. CDT) with the final on Aug. 26 (12:30 p.m. CDT).
Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, Nilsen was a three-time NCAA Champion for the Coyotes. He was a seven-time All-American, taking at least bronze at each NCAA Championship meet held during his collegiate career. He owns South Dakota’s indoor and outdoor pole vault records.
Alumna Emily Grove ’17 placed fifth in the women’s pole vault field on Sunday. She cleared 14-9 ½ (4.51m) on a first-attempt make.
A native of Pontiac, Illinois, Grove was a six-time All-American for the Coyotes and was the 2014 NCAA Indoor Runner-up in the pole vault. She graduated with USD’s indoor and outdoor pole vault records.
Also headed to Budapest is Maggie Ewen, who trains with USD throws coach Kyle Long in Vermillion. Ewen won the women’s shot put competition by nearly three feet, launching it 65-4 ¼ (19.92m).
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