EUGENE, Ore. – Stephen F. Austin’s Demi Payne is the 2015 NCAA Women’s Pole Vault Champion, capping one of the best seasons in collegiate pole vault history. The junior used a winning height of 15-5 (4.70m) at Historic Hayward Field at the University of Oregon on Thursday night to become SFA’s first NCAA Division I Champion in any sport.
“This hasn’t been an easy journey for me,” said Payne. “To come out on top in this meet is so incredible. It’s honestly hard to put into words. We came into the outdoor season with a plan and we stuck to it knowing we wanted to peak at these big meets. To see it all come together is amazing.”
Just as they drew it up, the competition came down to the best two women’s pole vaulters in collegiate history as Payne and Sandi Morris of Arkansas outlasted the field with clearances at 14-9 (4.50m).
Payne was perfect on her first six jumps on the night, ending with clean first attempts at 15-1, 15-3 and 15-5. Morris needed two jumps at 15-1 and 15-3 before bowing out with one miss at 15-5 and two more at 15-7.
Payne’s winning jump shattered the previous NCAA Outdoor Championship record by nearly 10 inches. The old standard of 14-7.25 (4.45m) was set in 2010.
Payne will now look to make the USA National Team at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in two weeks back at Hayward Field in Eugene. A trip to Beijing is on the line for the 2015 Outdoor World Championships later in the summer.