2019 is setting up to be something special for South Dakota's Chris Nilsen.

The junior pole vaulter, already with an NCAA and world-leading jump of 19 feet, one inch this month, added a gold medal performance at the Drake Relays, Saturday (April 27), with an even higher leap.

In Des Moines, Nilsen cleared 19' 2 1/4" to win a head-to-head match-up with 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and 2017 World Champion Sam Kendricks. Nilsen's height was a new Drake Relays record.

In NCAA outdoor history, Nilsen now owns two marks in the top-10 and five marks in the top-15. The Kansas City native has also won a pair of NCAA titles, one indoors and one outdoors.

Nilsen and the Coyotes wrap up the regular season at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays next weekend (May 3-4) in Sioux Falls.

The Summit League Championships are May 8-10 in Macomb, Illinois.

NCAA preliminaries are in late May in Sacramento, California with the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas in early June.


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