IRVING, Texas – Texas pole vaulter Kaitlin Petrillose has been named Big 12 Conference Indoor Track & Field Outstanding Freshman of the Year in a vote of the league’s head coaches, the conference announced Wednesday.
Petrillose won the Big 12 pole vault title on Feb. 24 after clearing a career-best height of 14-2.5 (4.33 meters), becoming the first Longhorn to win an indoor conference championship in the event. The mark eclipsed a school record she already owned, originally set on Jan. 18, when she vaulted 13-9.25 (4.20 meters), a Leonard Hilton Memorial Invitational meet record.
“This is truly an honor to be named Big 12 Outstanding Freshman of the Year during my first season at Texas,” Petrillose said. “It’s been a great season not only for myself, but for my entire team. When I see my teammates around me improving and developing into exceptional athletes, it makes the drive to improve in my event that much more intense and my desire for the sport grow infinitely.”
Petrillose is just the third Longhorn to claim the freshman league honor during the indoor season, joining Olympians Sanya Richard-Ross and Destinee Hooker, who were the 2003 and 2006 honorees, respectively.
With the sixth best mark in the nation, Petrillose punched her ticket to the NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend in Fayetteville, Ark., where she will be joined by 10 of her teammates to contend for a seventh indoor national title for Texas.