INDOOR WORLD CHAMPION Sandi Morris won her fourth national outdoor title, climbing back to the top rung she had stood on 2017–19. Katie Nageotte, who had supplanted Morris and won Olympic gold a year ago, overcame a season of frustrations to place 3rd and make the team. Sandwiched between them was Alina McDonald who ranked No. 8 in the U.S. last year, her first year on the national stage.
The opening height of 14-3¼ (4.35) saw 5 clearing on first attempt, with Morris and Kristen Leland passing. Morris opened when the bar went to 14-9 (4.50), clearing on her first attempt. Gabriela Leon and Olivia Gruver also cleared on first attempt, joining Morris as the only ones with no misses when the bar went to 15-1 (4.60).
Leon was the only vaulter with a first-attempt clearance at 15-1, McDonald and Emily Grove the only ones to clear on second attempt. Nageotte, first in the jumping order, cleared on third attempt, as did Morris, who was well above the bar after two sloppy attempts.
With the field down to 5, the bar was raised to 15-3 (4.65), where Nageotte and Leon missed their first attempts. McDonald now applied the pressure with a PR clearance on her first try. Morris appeared to find her groove, also clearing on her first effort and moving into 1st with only two misses through the competition compared to McDonald’s three.
A miss for Grove brought Nageotte up for her second try, which she made to move into 3rd. Leon and Grove missed on their second attempts, and again on their third.
With the first three now set, the bar was moved to the WC standard, 15-5 (4.70). Nageotte, with the Q in her pocket, retired from the competition, guaranteed of her spot on the team. McDonald, needing a clearance to get hers, missed her first try. Morris, also with her Q, missed, putting McDonald up for her second try.
McDonald missed again, and then watched as Morris cleared comfortably. Now down to her third try at the qualifying standard, McDonald missed, leaving her in 2nd, but without a ticket to the WC (where for religious reasons she wouldn’t have competed on a Sunday anyway).
That team place reverted to the highest placer with the standard, putting 5th-placer Grove on the team, as 4th-placer Leon also wound up short of the Q.
Now the winner, Morris had the bar raised to a season-best 15-9¾ (4.82), which she cleared on her second trial. The mark is a world-leading performance among WC-eligible athletes, and puts her in good position to win her first World title outdoors to go with her two indoor crowns. Said Morris, “I feel good, I feel like I’m going to peak for Worlds.”
WOMEN’S VAULT RESULTS
1. Sandi Morris (Puma) 15-9¾ (4.82) (AL; out WL);
2. Alina McDonald (KMRA) 15-3 (4.65);
3. Katie Nageotte (Nik) 15-3 (4.65);
4. Gabriela Leon (Louis) 15-1 (4.60);
5. Emily Grove (unat) 15-1;
6. Olivia Gruver (Nik) 14-9 (4.50);
7. Bridget Williams (unat) 14-9;
8. Rachel Baxter (VaT) 14-9;
9. tie, Kristen Brown (unat) & Kristen Leland (unat) 14-9; 11. tie, Sydney Horn (HPt) & Marissa Kalsey (unat) 14-3¼ (4.35); 13. tie, Amanda Fassold (Ar) & Jill Marois (unat) 14-3¼;… nh—Sophia Fortino-Franklin (MiSt), Sophie Gutermuth (unat), Kortney Ross (unat), Aliyah Welter (Louis).