Caldwell's Sullivan among three local first-time competitors at NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

rroberts@idahostatesman.comJune 10, 2014 

There is only one man standing between Matt Sullivan and the University of Idaho's all-time record in the men's pole vault.

His coach - Jeremy Klas.

Sullivan, a Caldwell High graduate, is 5.25 inches shy of Klas' record of 18 feet, 0.5 inches, set in 2013.

It's possible that record won't stand for much longer.

Sullivan will make his NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships debut Wednesday in Eugene after winning the indoor and outdoor WAC titles this season, including a personal-best 17-7.25 at the league meet in May.

"I just think it's really cool to be carrying on the legacy," Sullivan said. "We've had a history of pretty good pole vaulters at Idaho and I am really fortunate that my coaches and athletic trainers and friends and family have supported me this much and helped me get to where I am at."

The Idaho junior and two-time Idaho high school state champion is seeded 22nd out of 24 entries, although he has cleared the same height as the No. 1 seed.

"This is a pretty big deal for me, coming from a smaller town," Sullivan said. "It's funny to think that just a couple kids at the high school, middle school level just starting out doing something for fun could take me this far."

"I'm trying to have fun with it as this point," said Sullivan, whose father, Troy, also competed in the pole vault at Idaho. "I have nothing to lose. I want to go to this meet and be on the big stage and have fun with it."

Other Valley athletes at the NCAAs

• Louisville sophomore Brittany Owens (Borah High) is seeded 18th out of 24 competitors in the women's long jump. She is scheduled to compete Wednesday.

During her prep career with the Lions, Owens swept the long and triple jumps at the 5A state meet three years in a row.

"It means a lot to me to have made it this far," Owens said. "I've wanted this ever since I started college athletics, and I'm blessed to have achieved one of many of my goals."

• Utah State junior Nic Bowens (Meridian High), the reigning Mountain West champion in the 100, is seeded 14th among the 24 competitors in the field. The semifinals are scheduled for Wednesday and the final is Friday.

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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