Arkansas athletes star at USA Championships – Arkansas Online

Pole vaulter Sandi Morris, a former University of Arkansas NCAA champion and silver medalist at the 2016 Olympics, has won her seventh U.S. title.

Morris, 29, cleared a world-leading height this season of 15 feet, 93/4 inches Friday night at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

The victory earned Morris a spot on the U.S. team for the World Championships, which will be held July 15-24 in Eugene.

Britton Wilson, a redshirt sophomore for the Razorbacks this year who won the NCAA title in the 400-meter hurdles, also earned a spot on the U.S. team in the World Championships by taking second in the event Saturday. She ran 53.08 seconds to break her own school record of 53.75 set at the SEC Championships.

“Just super happy, super excited,” Wilson said Saturday in a video posted on the UA track and field Twitter account. “I’m glad I PR’ed. So close to 52, but I’m still happy anyway.”

Sydney McLaughlin, a former Kentucky star and the 2020 Olympic gold medalist, won the 400 hurdles in a world record time of 51.41.

Former Razorback Andrew Irwin, a two-time NCAA champion pole vaulter from Mount Ida, took third in the event Saturday to make the U.S. team for the World Championships. He cleared a season-best height of 18-41/2

Ryan Crouser, an Arkansas volunteer assistant and two-time Olympic gold medalist in the shot put, won Friday night’s competition with a best effort of 75-101/4.

Shamier Little, who trains in Fayetteville with Wilson and was the 2015 silver medalist at the World Championships in the 400 hurdles when she competed for Texas A&M, took third Saturday in 53.92.

Morris’ other USA pole vault titles were indoors in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020 and outdoors in 2017 and 2018.

This season, Morris is undefeated on the Diamond League circuit with other victories at Birmingham, England; Rabat, Morocco; and Rome.

“I felt a little bit off today, and there were a few bumps on the road, but you just have to keep on fighting through it,” Morris said in a video posted by USA Track and Field after her latest title. “I was able to kind of get in a rhythm toward the end and make a bar that I’m really happy with.

“I feel good. I feel like I’m going to peak for Worlds. So that’s what I want.”

Morris said that on her early attempts, she felt her approach on the runway was a little inconsistent.

“It’s a fine balance, because as you get going in a meet, you get more adrenaline,” she said. “So scooting in isn’t always the answer.

“It took me three attempts to get over [15-1], so that was a clutch make there.

“This season has been really kind to me. I’m undefeated so far and just been inching my way back to heights that I really want to see soon.”

Morris, the U.S. record-holder at 16-5 which she cleared in 2016, missed three attempts Friday night at 16-03/4.

“I was just kind of out of gas there at the end,” she said. “I’d taken a lot of trips down the runway.

“That’s really what’s keeping me motivated lately, is just wanting to jump high and see some bars that I haven’t seen in a couple of years.”

Competing in the Jamaica Championships this weekend, former Razorback Kemar Mowatt finished second in the 400 hurdles in 48.53 to qualify for the World Championships.

In the women’s 1,500 on Saturday at the USA meet, former Razorback Nikki Hiltz was 10th in 4:10.97 and Arkansas junior Lauren Gregory finished 11th in 4:12.04.

Former Razorback Frankline Tonui took 11th in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase in 8:37.43.

At the USA Under-20 Championships, Arkansas freshman Connor Washington took third in the 100 with a season-best time of 10.29.

Logan Jolly, a senior at Arkansas this year, will compete in the women’s steeplechase today at the USA meet when Gregory and former Razorback Katie Izzo will also run in the 5,000.