Suhr sets American record in pole vault

Posted Feb. 27, 2011, at 8:19 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 27, 2011, at 9:31 p.m.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Granted a rare fourth attempt in her American-record bid in the pole vault, 2008 Olympic silver medalist Jenn Suhr cleared 15-feet, 11¼-inches Sunday in the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Officials determined the bar was improperly set on her unsuccessful her third try, so Suhr got another opportunity and made good, upping her own mark of two years ago by an inch.

“You”ll always take another jump if you can,” she said. “I knew I could make it. I know I was over it. It’s just a matter of figuring out the standards and poles. That’s the way it’s been all year and I finally nailed it this time.”

Suhr’s record was one of two in the meet, after shot putter Jillian Camarena-Williams went 65-feet, 2¼ inches to break Ramona Pagels distance from 1987 by two inches.

“I’m shocked,” Camarena-Williams said. “I’ve been training well, but you never expect that. I knew I had a big throw coming, but I didn’t know how big.”

It was a noteworthy meet for the women, with distance specialist Jenny Simpson pulling off the double by adding the mile Sunday to her victory in the 3,000 on Saturday. She’s just the fourth women tow in both since 1975, when they were added to the championship schedule.

“This double was not easy,” she said. “Psychologically, I was very well prepared for it. I expected that feeling in the 3K, but I expected the mile to be much more difficult today. But it really came to me. It was just a beautiful way to go about it.”

Mark Rodgers turned in a strong performance in the 60 meters, running a world-leading time of 6.48 seconds despite a limited training regimen because of poor weather.

“I haven’t really been able to do block starts,” he said. “It was like my second week of speed work. I’m just trying to get my rhythm for outdoor season. I wasn’t really preparing for this but it all paid off and I’m happy.”

Hurdler Kellie Wells also claimed the world’s fastest women’s time this year, going 7.79 in both the preliminaries and the finals of the 60 meters.

“My confidence is up,” Wells said. “I just feel like I can do it, so I just go do it. I don’t hesitate, I don’t think. I just go.”

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