NCAA Men’s Pole Vault — Daniel Makes Some Noise

Just equal-8th last year, Kentucky senior Keaton Daniel won this time as he had indoors in March. (MIKE SCOTT)

KEATON DANIEL’S INTRODUCTION to Hayward Field in ’21 was not what he expected — it was quiet.

Normally a boisterous venue thanks to Eugene’s knowledgeable fans, there was just a small crowd for the NCAA Outdoor Champs due to Covid (reportedly 5060 in the stands for the Day 1 vault). But the Kentucky frosh persevered, regardless.

Jump forward 3 years and Daniel was atop the podium at the ’24 championships, disposing of his challengers with a clean slate through his winning height of 18-7¼ (5.67). To a lot of cheers.

“I felt it an honor to compete at historic Hayward Field,” said Daniel. “Today, I did step back and reflected on 2021.”

He had placed 2nd then in 18-2¼ (5.55). Later that summer he was 8th at the Olympic Trials in a PR 18-8½ (5.70), still his outdoor best. He improved his indoor PR this winter to 19-¼ (5.80) at Lubbock.

“I try to be consistent, and it’s difficult in the pole vault,” he said. In his eight NCAAs while at Kentucky, Keaton has placed among the top 8 five times, including when he won this winter’s Indoor title. He has added 6 SEC wins during that time.

His closest challenger here was another regular at the NCAA — Kansas’s Clayton Simms, who was the only vaulter besides Daniel clear at 18-5¼ (5.25), but Simms needed two tries which put him into 2nd place. In his 3 years as a Jayhawk, Simms has been on the NCAA podium six times, but never better than 5th previously.

“I was lacking focus,” said Simms who was ecstatic with the runner-up spot. “I finally got comfortable late in the season.”

He only had 1 miss in four bars before going out at 18-7¼. For the rest of the field, the big decider was 18-1¼ (5.52).

As seven vaulters stayed alive up to that setting, Christyan Sampy of Houston and formchart favorite Simen Guttormsen of Duke went clean through 18-1¼ but each missed thrice at 18-5¼. So they tied for 3rd. Frosh Cody Johnston of Illinois had one miss at 17-7¼, and made 18-1¼ on his first so he stood alone in 5th and was the only yearling among the top 19.


(June 05)

1. Keaton Daniel (Ky) 18-7¼ (5.67);

2. *Clayton Simms (Ks) 18-5¼ (5.62);

3. tie, Christyan Sampy (Hous) & Simen Guttormsen’ (Duke-Nor) 18-1¼ (5.52);

5. ***Cody Johnston (Il) 18-1¼;

6. tie, *James Rhoads (Penn) & Skyler Magula (Cal) 18-1¼;

8. tie, Max Manson (Wa), **Conner McClure (VaT), Eerik Haamer’ (SD-Est), Kyle Rademeyer’ (SAl-SA) & Marshall Faurot (SD) 17-7¼ (5.37);

13. Scott Toney (Penn) 17-7¼; 14. Randon Gray (UTA) 17-7¼ out PR; 15. **Walter Bannerman (GM) 17-7¼ PR; 16. **Logan Hammer (UtSt) 17-1½ (5.22); 17. tie, Dalton Shepler (Ky) & **Arnie Grunert (WnIl) 17-1½; 19. *Nikolai Van Huyssteen’ (Ga-SA) 17-1½; 20. tie, Travis Snyder (Ct) & ***Brian O’Sullivan (Rut) 16-7½ (5.07); 22. tie, ***Sean Gribble (TxT) & *Tyler Carrel (In) 16-7½;… nh—Jack Hodge (GCan).



16-7½ 17-1½ 17-7¼ 18-1¼ 18-5¼ 18-7¼ 18-9¼ 19-1
Johnston ppp o xo o xxx
Guttormsen ppp ppp o o xxx
Magula ppp ppp o xo xxx
Sampy ppp o o o xxx
Simms ppp o o o xo xpp xx
Grunert xo o xxx
Snyder o xxx
Shepler xo o xxx
Toney ppp xxo o xxx
Haamer o o o xxx
Manson o o o xxx
Bannerman xxo xo xxo xxx
Hodge ppp xxx
Van Huyssteen o xo xxx
Carrel xo xxx
Daniel ppp ppp o o o o xpp xx
Gray xo xo xo xxx
Hammer ppp o xxx
McClure ppp o o xxx
O’Sullivan o xxx
Faurot o o o xxx
Rhoads ppp ppp o xo xxx
Gribble xo xxx
Rademeyer ppp ppp o ppp xxx
5.07 5.22 5.37 5.52 5.62 5.67 5.72 5.82