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.