AUSTIN, Tex.-University of South Dakota pole vaulter Chris Nilsen defended his crown.
Nilsen outdueled LSU freshman Mondo Duplantis on Wednesday to win his second consecutive national title at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships and he did so by breaking his own meet record with a vault of 19 feet, 6 1/4 inches. He initially set the meet record last year with a winning vault of 19 feet, 2 inches.
Despite Nilsen being the defending champion, Duplantis entered as the favorite and it came down to a battle between them. Duplantis cleared his opening vault at 19-0.25, while Nilsen needed two attempts, but when they reached 19-4.25, the roles reversed.
The USD junior cleared 19-6.25 on his first attempt and Duplantis could not match him. He had a chance to tie the all-time NCAA record and the top vault in the world in 2019 at 19-8.5-set by Duplantis on May 11-but could not clear the bar on three attempts.
Nilsen, a native of Kansas City, Missouri, now has three NCAA titles in his career, with back-to-back outdoor wins and an indoor national championship in March.