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Alex Roth is writing this piece on the Men’s pole vault.
Sondre Guttormsen wins the Men’s Pole Vault, June 8, 2022, Eugene, Oregon, NCAA Outdoor Champs, Div I, photo by Cierra Hitner
By Alex Roth
SOJC Track Bureau
Princeton’s Sondre Guttormsen won the NCAA men’s pole vault title with a clearance of 18 feet, 10 ¼ inches Wednesday evening at Hayward Field after a clutch jump at 18 feet, 8 ¼ inches that saved him from early elimination.
Guttormsen only attempted four vaults prior to his winning clearance, opting to pass on the first four heights of the event and on the third attempt at 18 8 ¼ after missing the previous two attempts.
“Yeah, dude, I had one plan, and that was to win and nothing else,” Guttormsen said.
The winning vault was his second attempt at the height and moved him from second into first, ahead of Sam Houston State’s Clayton Frisch.
“You know, you can’t really change what other people do,” said Guttormsen. “When it comes down to your turn, you gotta make that bar whatever it’s at. When it’s your turn, it’s your turn.”
The event featured 24 competitors and lasted four hours, starting before every track event, and finishing after most of the fans had already departed. In fact, the entire Game Three of the NBA Finals took place during the competition, despite the game starting 70 minutes later than the pole vault final.
“I mean, obviously, I’d like it to move a little bit faster. I mean, we started at 5, and now it’s what, 9?” said Guttormsen. “So I think that kind of hurt my ability to go even higher.”
Even though he had already secured the NCAA title, Guttormsen was feeling more ambitious as he opted to raise the bar to 19 feet, 2 ¾ inches, and attempt to set the Norwegian outdoor record.
“Today, I wanted to jump that national record, but a championship is a championship, you know,” said Guttormsen.
Frisch came into the event as the season leader, and also attempted only four vaults before failing to clear the 18-10 ¼.
“That was a lot of the passing you saw there,” Frisch said. “We knew it would be a big jump at the end there, and just wanted to save it there for the attempt.”
Guttormsen’s brother Simen placed fourth, setting a new personal best and hanging with his older brother for a good portion of the competition.
“That’s cool that he came out here and equaled his PB,” his brother said. “You can’t really expect much more.”