University of South Dakota junior Bethany Buell is a national champion at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships.
Buell cleared 14 feet, 7.25 inches on the third and final attempt against three others remaining to seal a first-place finish at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., on Friday.
If she failed to clear the height, the St. Louis native would have finished runner-up to Kansas’ Natalia Bartnovskaya.
Buell’s title leap tied the NCAA outdoor championship record set in 2010. She failed to clear 14-9 on three attempts after clinching first place that would have set a meet record. Buell entered the finals with the nation’s top vault at 14-7.5 and finished third at last year’s championships, clearing 14-5.25.
Teammate Emily Grove finished in seventh place with a vault of 14-1.25. The sophomore’s previous best this season was 14 feet.
Watertown native and North Dakota State senior Leslie Brost also competed, finishing 18th.