Nilsen earns gold at Pan American Games

LIMA, Peru—South Dakota junior pole vaulter Chris Nilsen brought home the gold Saturday afternoon at the 2019 Pan American Games inside Athletics Stadium.

A third-attempt make at 18 feet, 10 ¾ inches (5.76m) vaulted Nilsen ahead of Brazil's Augusto Dutra da Silva de O in the standings. Nilsen boasted a clean sheet through the first seven bars of the competition.

Nilsen was one of two Americans in the 13-man field with Clayton Fritsch, of Sam Houston State, joining Nilsen on Team USA. The duo took a pair of podium spots, earning gold and bronze.

The junior also took three attempts at 19-0 ¾, which would have been a new meet record.

Nilsen broke the NCAA Championships meet record earlier this season with a personal best vault of 19-6 ¼. He's a three-time NCAA champion in the pole vault and six-time All-American. Nilsen was the Summit League's Field Athlete of the Year for the third-straight season and named a semifinalist for The Bowerman for the second time of his career.