Naperville, Ill. - Gustavus Adolphus senior track and field athlete Josh Owens (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) became an All-American with a fourth place finish in the pole vault on the first day of competition at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships held Friday at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. Ranked seventh in the nation entering the weekend, Owens cleared a height of 16-feet 0.5-inches to finish in a three-way tie for fourth place. By virtue of a finish inside the top eight, Josh Owens earns All-America status at the NCAA Indoor Championships for the first time in his career.
After narrowly missing the All-America cut with a ninth place performance at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships after clearing 15-feet 9.25-inches, Owens made sure of a top eight standing this season by going over the bar at 16-feet for the second time this season. It was the first time that Owens had cleared 16-feet since going over the bar at 16-feet 1.25-inches at the Ted Nelson Classic held Feb. 2. The senior cleared heights of 4.64, 4.79, and 4.89 meters before missing on three tries with the bar set at 4.99 meters.
“It was great to see Josh come out and earn All-America honors in his senior season,” said head coach Dale Bahr. “Josh looked good early and carried that momentum through. He made the move to a bigger pole and that paid off with a fourth place finish.”
The Gustavus track and field program’s first back-to-back MIAC indoor champion in the pole vault, the Brooklyn Park, Minn. native becomes the first Gustie to earn All-America status in the pole vault. Owens is also Gustavus’s first male indoor All-American since Max Hanson finished fifth in the 800-meter run in 2010.
Because of Josh’s fourth place finish, the Gustie men earn four points in the team standing, ranking them 12th heading into the final day of competition.
Also competing in the pole vault on Friday was senior Allyson Voss (Wausau, Wis.). Voss, who ranked eighth with a height of 12-feet 4.5-inches entering the weekend, cleared 12-feet 3.50-inches for a ninth place finish. Voss successfully cleared marks of 3.45, 3.60, and 3.75 meters before missing at 3.85 meters.
“Although taking ninth can be tough to swallow, Ally was pleased with how she came out and competed. Sometimes all you can ask of yourself is to go out there and put it on the line – I think she did that today,” commented Bahr.
Voss, who was also the first Gustavus athlete to ever win the pole vault back-to-back seasons at the MIAC Indoor Championships, qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time in her career after setting a new school and meet record a weekend before at the conference meet. She is Gustavus’s fourth female pole vaulter to compete at NCAA Indoor Championships, joining the likes of Kristi Schneider (05), Janna Castellano (07), and Shanna Dawson (08).
Cameron Clause (Jr., Mankato, Minn.) rounded out Gustavus’s competitors on Friday in Naperville. Clause tallied 2,530 points on day one of the heptathlon, ranking 11th heading into the final day. The junior placed eighth in the long jump (21′), ninth in the high jump (5′ 11.25″), 10th in the 60-meter dash (7.39), and 13th in the shot put (32′ 7.75″).
The heptathlon will pick back up on Saturday morning with the 60-meter hurdles at 11:00 a.m. The 2013 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships will conclude later on Saturday with the women’s 4×200-meter relay as the last event on the schedule.