Following his European Indoor gold medal in Turkey, Norwegian star shines brightest on opening night in New Mexico, capping thrilling competition against Bradford with lifetime-best 19-8.25 effort; Jacobs, McLeod, Rogers and Oklahoma State DMR also secure memorable titles
By Erik Boal, DyeStat Editor
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Sondre Guttormsen was the last man standing Friday night, and everyone who remained in attendance at the Albuquerque Convention Center to watch the conclusion of the pole vault competition at the NCAA Division 1 Indoor Championships demonstrated their respect and appreciation with a standing ovation.
Less than a week removed from winning the European Athletics Indoor Championships gold medal in Turkey, the Norwegian star not only managed to outlast Texas Tech standout Zach Bradford, but become only the 15th male athlete in the world to produce a 6-meter indoor clearance.
Guttormsen, competing for Princeton, equaled the collegiate record of 19-8.25 (6.00m) on his second attempt to become the first back-to-back Division 1 indoor champion since Arkansas’ Andrew Irwin in 2012-13.
Guttormsen matched the 2021 indoor performance of Baylor’s KC Lightfoot, as well as the 2019 outdoor effort achieved by LSU’s Armand “Mondo” Duplantis in his lone year of collegiate competition.
Bradford, who equaled the No. 5 all-time collegiate indoor vaulter with a lifetime-best 19-4.75 (5.91m) performance to extend the competition, applied the pressure to Guttormsen throughout the meet.
Bradford, who was edged by Guttormsen by a 19-4.25 (5.90m) to 19-1.50 (5.83m) margin Feb. 4 at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic at the Albuquerque Convention Center, had the advantage Friday after clearing 19-0.75 (5.81m) first.
Guttormsen responded by clearing 19-2.75 (5.86m) on his first attempt, with Bradford missing twice in an attempt to achieve a new personal best. Bradford decided to pass on his final opportunity at 19-2.75 and then delivered an emotional 19-4.75 clearance with his last chance, also forcing Guttormsen to successfully make the height to continue the competition.
Guttormsen then watched as Bradford missed all three opportunities at 19-6.50 (5.96m), before deciding to pass at that height and take aim at his first career 6-meter clearance.
Guttormsen matched the No. 9 all-time global indoor performer, with Bradford equaling the No. 8 competitor in American indoor history.
Bradford is the only vaulter in collegiate history to…
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