Jacque Desmond Earns All-America Honors with Fourth-Place Finish in Pole Vault at Nationals

Jacque Desmond Earns All-America Honors with Fourth-Place Finish in Pole Vault at Nationals

GENEVA, Ohio - Senior Jacque Desmond made a strong run at an individual national title, but settled for All-America honors with a fourth-place finish in the pole vault on day one of the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships on Thursday afternoon at SPIRE Institute.

Desmond had a top clearance of 3.95 meters, which she accomplished on her third and final attempt. That vault was just shy of her program-record of 3.97 which she set at the SCIAC Championships in April to earn first place and qualify for nationals. She nearly cleared 4.0 meters on her third and final try at that height as well, but her knee just grazed the bar and she was unable to advance to the next round. 

Olivia McDaniel of Linfield, who was the only Division III pole vaulter to clear 4.0 meters prior to the NCAA Championships, ended up winning the event with a season-best vault of 4.10 meters. Heidi Nassos of WashU was the only other pole vaulter to clear the 4.0 bar, which she did on her final attempt to earn a second-place finish. Desmond tied for third at 3.95 with Julia Dannenbaum of WashU, but finished fourth on the tiebreaker (since Dannenbaum cleared 3.95 on her first try and Desmond needed three attempts). 

Juniors Sabrine Griffith and Amanda Mell also competed at the NCAA Division III Championships after qualifying in the long jump and triple jump, respectively. Griffith made it to the NCAAs with the third-best mark in CMS women's track and field history, and finished fifth in her flight (of 11) with a top distance of 5.57 meters (18'3.25"), but she fell short of reaching the top nine who advanced to the final round, ending up 15th. 

Mell, meanwhile, qualified for nationals on the last possible day, reaching an even 12 meters at the Redlands Final Qualifier last week, passing her previous best of 11.57 by almost a half-meter. She ended up 16th at the NCAA Championships, but like Griffith, will be returning to the Athenas next year for a chance at a higher finish.