WACO, Texas – Sophomore Kaitlin Petrillose cleared an indoor and outdoor career-best 14 feet, 3 ½ inches (4.36 meters) Friday to win the pole vault title on the opening day of the Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which are being hosted by Baylor.
In the process, she set a new UT outdoor record in the event, besting Ashley Laughlin’s mark of 13-11.25 (4.24 meters) set in 2008. Petrillose now owns both the top indoor and outdoor marks in program history after vaulting an indoor personal-best 14-2.5 (4.33 meters) en route to winning the Big 12 Indoor crown in February.
“If your head isn’t in the game right now, at this moment, you’re not in it to win it. And I was in it to win it today,” Petrillose said. “With the outdoor PR and the overall personal best, I feel incredible and so ready for regionals.”
After entering the competition at 13-3.75 (4.06 meters) with just six competitors remaining, Petrillose proceeded to clear the first five heights she attempted on her first try. Facing off against Kansas’ Natalia Bartnovskaya, whom she bested to win at the league indoor meet, Petrillose cleared 14-1.75 and her winning height of 14-3.5 while Bartnovskaya passed on both bars. The two then attempted 14-5.5 (4.41 meters), what would have been a league outdoor record, where Petrillose recorded her first miss of the day. Neither was able to clear the height, and Petrillose took home the championship for 10 team points.
“Kaitlin was just amazing today. She came in and her head was on straight,” interim head coach Rose Brimmer said. “In our team meeting this morning, she talked about thinking positive, thinking you can do it, and then actually going out and doing it. I was really proud of her being so young and being able to maintain her composure even after (Bartnovskaya) passed. She already knew what she wanted to do and she did it.”
Teammate Natasha Masterson, a senior, placed fourth in the event, vaulting an outdoor season-best 13-7.75 (4.16 meters) to earn five team points.
The 10th-ranked Longhorns, who are second in the team standings with 21 points, have now won three straight league pole vault events, with Masterson having taken home a victory at the 2012 outdoor meet.