Nilsen Gets A Barrier Out Of The Way

Nilsen
Nilsen was happy to join the 19-foot clubKIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT

Chris Nilsen joined the 19-foot club at the Nebraska Tune-up, clearing 19-¼ (5.80) to become =No. 10 all-time among collegians and =No. 3 among American collegians.

“It was a really good bar to hit,” said the 20-year-old South Dakota soph, who in his prep career was 1 of only 10 ever to crack 18. “I was excited to get that under my belt; I’ve been wanting it for a very long time now.”

He was anything but clean on the way up, with every height past 17-6½ (5.35) taking more than one attempt. After clearing 18-8¾ (5.71) and then the PR on second tries, he called it a night.

“It was a really good winter of training,” he told us on the eve of his conference meet. “I had been training well, and I was superhealthy… up until about yesterday when I contracted the flu.

“I’m glad I got the 19-footer out of the way before that.”

He expects to be healthy again in time to defend his title at the NCAA Indoor. Of that he says, “I have to go in and jump a few certain bars and keep my head down until I jump those bars. Then I can look up and say, ‘What do I have to do to win?’ ”

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