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Suhr tops U.S. trials in pole vault

Jenn Suhr of Churchville, the current World and Olympic champion, assured herself of the opportunity to defend her title in Rio de Janeiro by winning the U.S. Olympic Track & Field women’s pole vault trial Sunday in Eugene, Ore.

Suhr cleared 15 feet, 9 inches on her first try to finish ahead of Sandi Morris, who missed at 15-9, passed twice at that height before failing on two tries at 15-11. Suhr also failed to clear 15-11 in her three attempts.

The former Fredonia High athlete had only two misses at lower heights before clearing 15-9. She was the only vaulter to clear 14-9 in the preliminary round held in the rain on Friday.

Suhr has been ranked No. 1 in the world the last two years and No. 1 among Americans since 2006. She has won 15 national titles in her career. She holds the American record of 16 feet, 2 inches set in the 2008 Olympic Trials.

Mary Saxer of Lancaster also competed in the finals but bowed out after failing to clear the trials’ starting height, 14-5¼.

Besides Suhr, Morris and third-place finisher Alexis Weeks of Arkansas will represent the U.S. in the event in the Rio Games. Morris cleared 15-7 while Weeks topped out at 15-5. Morgann LeLeux, Katie Nageotte and Megan Clark all failed to clear the bar when it was set at 15-3.

More on Jenn Suhr:

Olympian overcomes trials and tribulations. By Jerry Sullivan.

Jenn Suhr the No. 1 female athlete in The Buffalo News’ Buffalo’s Best series. By Jerry Sullivan.