Olympic Trials Women’s Vault — Katie Nageotte Gives WR A Try

Katie Nageotte raised her yearly world lead to 16-2¾ before trying 16-7½. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

THE SEARING HEAT brought a relatively quick end to the vault, but not before Katie Nageotte continued to her ascent up the all-time list and made a valiant attempt at the World Record.

Already a 2-time indoor national champion, the 30-year-old Ohio native added an outdoor title to land on her first Olympic team. Sandi Morris and Morgann LeLeux will be joining her in Tokyo after the roster was settled on the day’s third height.

The Q was uneventful, but notably saw the yearly debut for oft-injured ’12 Olympic gold medalist Jenn Suhr. “I haven’t competed in a long time, so I wanted to come in a little lower, so I could take a couple of jumps just to get my rhythm and to feel the pole and to get back in the atmosphere,” said the winner of the last 3 Trials. Now 39, Suhr was among a half-dozen to go over 14-9 (4.50) clean in the qualifying round.

She went higher in the final, clearing 15-1 (4.60), which ended up being the height needed to make the team. Alas, an earlier miss dropped her to 5th, behind Olivia Gruver.

Morris’s clean card through 15-1 (4.60) ended up being just enough to book her place on the team, though it was well short of the Rio silver medalist’s usual standards. “I feel like I’m good at handling pressure,” she said, “but it’s different when I haven’t felt confident in the jumping itself in my training sessions and just feeling a little bit out of whack with the rhythm on the runway.”

A third-attempt clearance at 15-5 (4.70) separated LeLeux (4th in ’16) from the pack, but the emotional climax of making the team drove her to retire after just one miss at 15-9 (4.80).

The stage all hers, Nageotte made 15-9 (4.80) on her first attempt, then scaled 16-2¾ (4.95) on her second. That added a centimeter to the PR she set indoors earlier in the month and put her =No. 4 on the all-time world list and No. 3 among Americans.

She decided to take a stab at breaking Yelena Isinbaeva’s hallowed 16-7¼ (5.06) WR, now nearly 11 years old. Her trio of attempts at 16-7½ (5.07), weren’t close, but gave her a mental boost ahead of Tokyo.

“4.95 [16-2¾] is a big bar, so I was just really happy and at that point everything was just the cherry on top,” she said. “I wanted to win, I didn’t want to just be top 3. I wanted to keep fighting.”

WOMEN’S POLE VAULT RESULTS

(June 26)

1. Katie Nageotte (Nik) 16-2¾ (4.95) (WL, AL) (=4, =15 W; 3, =5 A; non-Isi: =3 , =5 W)

(15-1, 15-5, 15-9, 16-2¾ [2], 16-7½ [xxx]) (4.60, 4.70, 4.80, 4.95 [2], 5.07 [xxx]);

2. Morgann LeLeux (NHGTC) 15-5 (4.70) =PR; out PR

(14-3¼, 14-9, 15-1, 15-5 [3], 15-9 [xpp]) (4.35, 4.50, 4.60, 4.70 [3], 4.80 [xpp]);

3. Sandi Morris (Puma) 15-1 (4.60)

(14-9, 15-1, 15-5 [xxx]) (4.50, 4.60, 4.70 [xxx]);

4. Olivia Gruver (Nik) 15-1 (4.60)

(14-3¼ [2], 14-9, 15-1, 15-5 [xxx]) (4.35 [2], 4.50, 4.60, 4.70 [xxx]);

5. Jenn Suhr (adi) 15-1 (4.60)

(15-1 [2], 15-5 [xxx]) (4.60 [2], 4.70 [xxx]);

6. Nastassja Campbell (Ar) 14-9 (4.50)

(14-3¼, 14-9, 15-1 [xxx]) (4.35, 4.50, 4.60 [xxx]);

7. Sophie Gutermuth (unat) 14-9 (4.50) = out PR

(14-3¼ [2], 14-9, 15-1 [xxx]) (4.35 [2], 4.50, 4.60 [xxx]);

8. Alina McDonald (KMR) 14-9 (4.50)

(14-3¼, 14-9 [2], 15-1 [xxx]) (4.35, 4.50 [2], 4.60 [xxx]);

9. Bridget Guy (unat) 14-9 (4.50)

(14-3¼ [2], 14-9 [2], 15-1 [xxx]) (4.35 [2], 4.50 [2], 4.60 [xxx]);

10. Megan Clark (OisNYAC) 14-9 (4.50)

(14-3¼, 14-9 [3], 15-1 [xxx]) (4.35, 4.50 [3], 4.60 [xxx]);

=11. Kristen Brown (unat) & Sydney Walter (unat) 14-3¼ (4.35)

(14-3¼, 14-9 [xxx]) (4.35, 4.50 [xxx]);

13. Lauren Chorny (Landon) 14-3¼ (4.35)

(14-3¼ [3], 14-9 [xxx]) (4.35 [3], 4.50 [xxx]).

QUALIFYING (June 24)

Qualifiers: Brown, Chorny & Walter cleared 14-5¼/4.40, all other finalists 14-9/4.50;

Non-Qualifiers: [14-5¼/4.40]—Rachel Baxter (VaT);

[14-1¼/4.30]—Kayla Smith (Ga), Kortney Ross (unat);

… nh—Tuesdi Tidwell (Bay), Daylis Caballero Vega (unat), Kristen Leland (unat), Lauren Martinez (Ar), Kaylee Bizzell (SFA), Emily Grove (unat), Paige Sommers (CaHS), Chloe Cunliffe (Puma).

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