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Albuquerque, New Mexico

February 18th, 2018

Day Three of the 2018 USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships is a day that Katie Nageotte will never forget. The adidas athlete had the type of pole vault competition that few could ever match and most could only dream about. In arguably one of the most important competitions of her young career, the 26-year-old Ohio native made 8 consecutive first-attempt clearances, re-set her PR 3 times along the way, won her first national championship as a professional, cleared a world-leading 4.91m/16’1¼”, became only the 4th American woman to clear 16 feet, is now ranked #4 on the all-time indoor PV world list, and took 3 noble, albeit unsuccessful, attempts [her only misses of the day] at what would have been a world record clearance at 5.04m/16’6½”.

Runner-up Sandi Morris, who will join Nageotte in the world indoor pole vault competition in Birmingham next month, was in awe of the former Ashland University star’s performance. “She is another young American pole-vaulter coming up in the ranks and making it onto the world stage,” declared the American outdoor pole vault record holder and Olympic and indoor and outdoor World Championship silver medalist. “I think it is long overdue for Katie. She’s been fighting really hard for that.”

Nageotte credited the business-like approach she has recently incorporated into her competition as a primary driver behind her spectacular performance. “I really just focused on coming out and executing. We didn’t practice. We just stayed calm. I am really proud of myself that I didn’t let my emotions get the better of me and I didn’t get all excited.” The New York Athletic Club athlete stayed occupied on the nuts and bolts of perfect execution. “It was just ‘Stay calm. Hit my cues. And focus on just three things throughout the whole competition’. And I stayed on the same poles pretty much the whole competition until we got up to the higher bars.” Nageotte also quickly identifies the progress she has made since she began working with American pole vault legend Brad Walker as a major contributor to her success over the past year. “It was just a matter of time, putting it together in the right meet. I was ready for this.”

The new world leader acknowledged the other-worldly atmosphere that accompanied her clean run of 8 first-attempt clearances in a row. “I didn’t feel real. It still doesn’t feel real. And even here [in the mixed zone] it still doesn’t feel like I jumped 16 feet like I did. I was just like, ‘Get the next bar; get the next bar.’ I was staying focused. I was really trying not to let the numbers get into my head.”

Many world class pole vaulters likely dream about one day being able to undertake a competitive vault at a world record height. Very few ever get that opportunity. But Katie Nageotte actually faced that opportunity as the final day of competition was drawing to a close. “I was close, but none of them really would have stayed,” reflected Nageotte on her attempts at a daunting 5.04m. “I am proud of myself that I really gave it 3 good attempts and I blew through on my last attempt on the biggest pole that I’ve ever been on. So that was kind of cool,” she adds with a smile. “I am so glad that I didn’t just kind of fade out. I gave it 3 good attempts and was able to really give it a shot.” Dave Hunter


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Dunaway AwardAt the 2019 annual meeting of the Track and Field Writers of America, Dave was presented with the James Dunaway Memorial Award “for track & field journalism excellence.”

Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.


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