Barber Breaks the Men’s Collegiate Record; Payne Wins Historic Showdown

Surprise, surprise. We had a new collegiate pole vault record today. And we nearly had two.

Those unfamiliar with the Year of the Vault‘s plot twists and turns would have assumed that we’d seen the best the collegiate pole vault had to offer today when Demi Payne of Stephen F. Austin came up just short of breaking her own women’s indoor collegiate record at New Mexico to win the first-ever showdown of three career 15-foot collegiate vaulters over former college record holders Sandi Morris of Arkansas and Kaitlin Petrillose of Texas, the defending national champion (more on all of this later)

Not so fast.

About an hour later and on the other side of the country in Akron, Ohio, Shawn Barber of Akron stole the headlines with a men’s indoor pole vault collegiate record of his own. The Canadian needed just one attempt at 15-3½ (5.88m) to get up and over for a new collegiate standard – surpassing the old standard of 19-2¼ (5.85m) set by Texas’ Jacob Davis in 1999.

With the college record – and an improvement on his own Canadian record – under his belt, why not raise the bar another 12 centimeters to 6.00m to try to surpass the outdoor college standard of 19-7½ (5.98m)? That’s exactly what he did, but he missed it three times.

Believe it or not, Barber’s historic effort made this weekend the third of 2015 in which a collegiate pole vault record was set. That’s without counting his unattached, non-Akron-uniformed exhibition mark of 19-3 (5.87m) set at the Texas Vault Expo in early January.

Since that performance, today’s official supplantation of the record has always been considered a “when” rather than an “if”.



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