Jennifer (Stuczynski) Suhr of Fredonia cleared 16 feet, 1/2 inch on her second try and won the women's pole vaulting championship at the USA Outdoor Track & Field championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Suhr, the silver medalist in the event at the Beijing Olympics, failed in three attempts at 16-4 3/4 , which would have broken her American record of 16-1 1/2 . Still, her winning vault was the best in the world this season.
"Yes, it definitely was [pleasing]," said Suhr, who has nine national championships and is the only American woman to clear 16 feet in the event. "I don't want to say it was a surprise, but it's good to be back."
Mary Saxer of Lancaster finished third, clearing a personal best 14-9. The former University of Notre Dame vaulter failed once at 14-11, then passed twice on the height only to see Becky Holliday vault 15-1 to take second place. Saxer missed in two attempts at 15-1.
The vaulters had to battle headwinds at the Drake University track.
"You know, it was tricky and I think I would have preferred a tailwind," Suhr said. "And it's waiting your wind too and knowing when to go and when not to go. And I've been around, so I can kind of figure that out. But it is tricky and the warm-up was definitely hard. It was hard for a lot of girls. You know, they predicted that it was going to change, but it didn't change until late.
"You know, it's funny. I've won a lot of U.S. national championships, but this one's probably the most meaningful," said Suhr, who recently married her coach, Rick Suhr of Rochester. "This one was a hard fought one mentally. You know, Rick and I got married and I had injuries going on and everything, and it's one we both needed. So we thank God and we thank each other. And together, we won it."
Fawn Dorr of Akron placed third in the 400 hurdles in 55.99. Dorr was fourth at the recent NCAA Championships and was a two-time All-American at Penn State.