2019 is setting up to be something special for South Dakota’s Chris Nilsen.

The junior pole vaulter, already with an NCAA and world-leading jump of 19 feet, one inch this month, added a gold medal performance at the Drake Relays, Saturday (April 27), with an even higher leap.

In Des Moines, Nilsen cleared 19′ 2 1/4″ to win a head-to-head match-up with 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and 2017 World Champion Sam Kendricks. Nilsen’s height was a new Drake Relays record.

In NCAA outdoor history, Nilsen now owns two marks in the top-10 and five marks in the top-15. The Kansas City native has also won a pair of NCAA titles, one indoors and one outdoors.

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