Laurel native Easton Padden wins 3rd NAIA pole vault title

HELENA — Easton Padden of Laurel won the third NAIA national pole vault championship of his Carroll College career on Saturday at the NAIA national indoor track and field meet in Geneva, Ohio.

Padden, a senior, cleared 16 feet, 8 3/4 inches to successfully defend his 2013 national championship. The 2009 Laurel grad won both the NAIA indoor and outdoor titles last year.

After locking up the title, Padden made an aggressive attempt at 17-6 1/2, which would have been a new personal best. He had two near-misses in his three attempts and left feeling a bit disappointed despite claiming yet another national title.

But just a bit.

“It’s hard to be too upset about today,” he said. “It definitely would have felt really good to make that last bar, but I’ve just got more work to do.

“It’s great motivation for me to keep working hard. I know I’ve got a lot to fix if I want to move higher. I was doing some good things, technically, today. I’ve just got to do some fine-tuning.”

Carroll’s Rhianna Grossman also won a national title on Saturday, winning the women’s 3,000-meter run in 9:48.26.

The junior from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, won by more than 11 seconds and trimmed more than 15 seconds off her previous personal best.



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