Shawn Barber: 2014 NCAA Indoor Pole Vault Champion

University of Akron sophomore Shawn Barber became the school’s first male individual national champion by winning the pole vault competition in record-setting fashion at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships Saturday evening at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

With a winning clearance of 18-10.25 (5.75m), Barber smashed his own Canadian National record and bested 2013 NCAA Outdoor Champion Sam Kendricks of Ole Miss in a thrilling dual. Barber, who calls Texas home but owns dual citizenship, is the Zips fourth individual national champion overall and the third from the track & field program.

Barber, who placed fifth at the NCAA Indoor championships a year ago as a true freshman, had very little trouble clearing heights throughout the competition. In fact, he didn’t suffer his first miss until 14 other athletes had already been eliminated and he was head-to-head with Kendricks at a height of 18-06.50 (5.65m).

But Barber, who owned an indoor personal best of 18-06.75 (5.66m) entering the competition, quickly corrected himself and cleared his second attempt before the bar went up to 18-08.25 (5.70m). Kendricks went over on his first try and Barber passed after missing his. It was the last miss Barber would endure however as he sailed over the final height to clinch the win.

Kendricks missed all three attempts at 18-10.25.

By winning the national title, Barber earned All-America First Team honors for the third time of his young collegiate career. After placing fifth at last year’s indoor meet, the native of Kingwood, Texas, medaled at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships with a third-place finish.

Other individual national champions from the Zips track & field team include Stevi Large, who won the title in the women’s hammer throw in 2009, and Christi Smith, who took the crown in the women’s heptathlon in 2000. Rifle’s Jenna Compton was the NCAA Air Rifle Champion in 2009.

The Zips men’s soccer program captured the school’s first team national championship in any sport in 2010.

Barber was the second First Team All-American crowned for the Zips Saturday as junior Alex McCune made history of his own earlier in the day.

While improving three positions in the men’s heptathlon to place sixth overall, McCune jumped 17-10.50 to set the American standard in the heptathlon pole vault. In doing so, the Pittsburgh native won the event by nearly eight inches and bettered his personal record by four full inches.

McCune finished with a two-day tally of 5,837 points.

As the Zips fifth athlete in action this championships weekend, redshirt freshman Weronika Gaudyn represented Akron well in the women’s triple jump. Gaudyn advanced to the finals with a top leap of 42-02.00 and placed ninth overall.

March 15, 2014 | Albuquerque Convention Center | Albuquerque, N.M.

Pole Vault: 1. Shawn Barber, 18-10.25; Heptathlon: 6. Alex McCune, 5,837.

Triple Jump: 9. Weronika Gaudyn, 42-02.00.





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