VERMILLION, S.D.—Five Coyote track and field athletes will represent the University of South Dakota at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships held July 25-28 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. The top-three athletes in each event will represent the United States at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, at the end of September.
Entering the field at No. 1 in the men’s pole vault, junior Chris Nilsen is set to compete in his third-straight U.S. Championships. Nilsen vaulted his U.S.-leading height of 19 feet, 6 ¼ inches, to defend his collegiate national title at the NCAA Championships in June. The three-time NCAA Champion and six-time All-American has five jumps over the Olympic standard of 19-0 ¼ this year, clearing the bar 11 times in his career.
Nilsen has a pair of top-three finishes at his first two U.S. Championship meets. He finished runner-up to 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Sam Kendricks a year ago, although there was no World Championships to qualify for in 2018. Nilsen made Team USA to cap off his freshman campaign in 2017, having placed third at the meet. He just missed the finals at the 2017 IAAF World Championships held in London.