FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Junior Casey Bowenearned a seventh-place finish in the pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships Friday night inside the Randal Tyson Track Center. Bowen’s finished earned him first team All-America honors for the first time in his career and marked the 23rd time a Jayhawk pole vaulter has taken home All-America honors from the indoor national championships, the most of any team in nation.
“I felt like I performed pretty well today,” said Bowen following the competition. “Obviously, I wanted to make a couple more bars, but I’m happy to get seventh in a stacked field of vaulters. Coming into the meet one of my goals was to get All-American so I was really excited when I found out I was top-eight. I feel great going into the outdoor season. Today, I felt really close to jumping a lot higher and I expect some big heights in the next few months.”
Bowen, who entered the day as the No. 12-ranked vaulter in the NCAA this season, got his day out to a strong start with a clearance on his first trip down the runway. The Gardner, Kansas native cleared 5.30 meters (17’4½”) to start his competition and immediately shoot up the leaderboard. Bowen then needed two attempts to get over his next height. With the bar at 5.40 meters (17’8½”), he managed to fly over the bar on his second try and cement his place among the top-eight finishers.
Bowen made three strong attempts at the next progression, a height of 5.50 meters (18’0½”), which would have given the junior a new indoor career best. It wasn’t meant to be however, as he narrowly clipped the bar on each of his vaults, ending his day in a three-way tie for seventh-place.
The top-eight finish still gave Bowen an All-America distinction for the first time in his career. His finish is also the first scoring effort by a Kansas male at the NCAA Indoor Championships since Mason Finley finished second in the shot put at the 2011 meet.
Kansas track & field has one more Jayhawk set to compete at the NCAA Championships this weekend as senior Lindsay Vollmer will take part in the pentathlon Saturday, March 14. The pentathlon’s first event, the 60-meter hurdles, is set to begin at 11:30 a.m.