Sandi Morris takes the Women’s Pole Vault in style!
By Jasmyne Tomas
SOJC Track Bureau
It was a lonely runway for Sandi Morris, an
American pole vault record holder, as she continued to jump Friday afternoon at the USATF outdoor championships after already claiming the U.S. title at 15 feet, 5 inches (4.70m).
Morris finished with a jump of 15-9 ¾ (4.82m), which is the highest jump in the world this season.
“I’m fortunate to be on the team and to maybe get to win my first gold medal in front of a home crowd,” said Morris, looking ahead to the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in July.
Morris made a recent change in coaching and is now working with Brad Walker. Walker is also the coach of Katie Nageotte, who won gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and is one of Morris’ toughest competitors.
After assuring a third-place finish, which made the world championship team, Nageotte opted to not continue jumping in order to give her Achilles, which has been bothering her for the past couple of weeks, a rest.
Alina McDonald, who finished second with the same height, 15-3, is ranked high enough to qualify for the team but has chosen not to compete at the world championships because the final for the event is on a Sunday—a day in which she’s never competed on. Instead, fifth-place finisher Emily Grove, the highest finisher with the world championship standard, will fill the third spot.
This hasn’t been an ideal year for Nageotte. Coming off of a strong performance at the Olympics last year, she found herself struggling to keep that momentum going, especially when dealing with minor injuries and COVID-19.
“Last year was just so amazing. Then having to immediately ramp it back up was harder than anything I’ve ever experienced,” said Nageotte. “It almost felt like whatever was controlling my adrenaline was broken, like my adrenal glands were just like ‘absolutely not.’”