Pan Am Champ

South Dakota junior pole vaulter Chris Nilsen brought home the gold Saturday afternoon at the 2019 Pan American Games inside Athletics Stadium.

LIMA, Peru—South Dakota junior pole vaulter Chris Nilsen brought home the gold Saturday afternoon at the 2019 Pan American Games inside Athletics Stadium.

A third-attempt make at 18 feet, 10 ¾ inches (5.76m) vaulted Nilsen ahead of Brazil’s Augusto Dutra da Silva de O in the standings. Nilsen boasted a clean sheet through the first seven bars of the competition.

Nilsen was one of two Americans in the 13-man field with Clayton Fritsch, of Sam Houston State, joining Nilsen on Team USA. The duo took a pair of podium spots, earning gold and bronze.

The junior also took three attempts at 19-0 ¾, which would have been a new meet record.

Nilsen broke the NCAA Championships meet record earlier this season with a personal best vault of 19-6 ¼. He’s a three-time NCAA champion in the pole vault and six-time All-American. Nilsen was the Summit League’s Field Athlete of the Year for the third-straight season and named a semifinalist for The Bowerman for the second time of his career.

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