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Nilsen Defends Title At U.S. Track And Field Championships | Sports


EUGENE, Ore.—South Dakota alumnus Chris Nilsen ’20 successfully defended his U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships title on Saturday as one of three Coyote alumni competing at Hayward Field.

Nilsen cleared 18-8 ¼ (5.70m) on his first attempt to secure the gold in the men’s pole vault for the second-straight season. A three-time NCAA Champion for the Coyotes, Nilsen took home the silver medal at the pandemic-delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics last summer and followed up with a bronze at the 2022 World Indoor Championships in March. He vaulted an outdoor best of 19-8 ¼ (6.00m) back home in Vermillion at the USD Twilight in May, but also owns the American Indoor Record of 19-10 ¼ (6.05m) from the Perche Elite Tour in France this past March.

The finish qualifies Nilsen to represent the United States at the 2022 World Athletics Championships to be hosted by the United States for the first time this summer. The World Championships are set for July 15-24 at Hayward Field in Eugene. Men’s pole vault will consist of a qualification round on Friday, July 22, followed by the finals on Sunday, July 24. Nilsen is ranked No. 2 in the world behind Olympic champion Mondo Duplantis headed into the meet.

Emily Grove ’17 placed fifth with a clearance of 15-1 (4.60m) in the women’s pole vault. Her top finish at the U.S. Championships was third in 2017, qualifying for the 2017 World Championships in London, England. Grove vaulted a personal best of 15-7 (4.75m) two weeks ago in Chula Vista, California.

Lara Boman ’19 competed in the women’s hammer throw, placing 15th in the field with a throw of 214-0 (65.23m) on her third and final attempt. Since graduating, she has placed in the top-10 of the U.S. Indoor or Outdoor Championships three times, highlighted by a third-place finish in the weight throw at the 2022 U.S. Indoor Championships. Boman launched the hammer a personal best 232-11 (71.00m) at the Wildcat Classic back in March of this year.

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