Brooke Simon with one of her five straight successful vaults (photo by Aaron Brewer)
Brooke Simon with one of her five straight successful vaults (photo by Aaron Brewer)

Brooke Simon Finishes Third in Pole Vault at NCAA Championships, Earns Fourth All-America Honor

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Brooke Simon was one of only three pole vaulters to clear four meters at the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships, and was one round away from winning the national title, but settled for a third-place finish and All-America honors on Friday afternoon at St. John Fisher.

By coming in third, Simon earns All-America honors for the fourth time in the last two seasons (twice indoor, twice outdoor) and earned her highest finish after coming in sixth, seventh and eighth in her previous three. She also cleared four meters for the third time, after becoming the first to ever do it in the SCIAC when she won the league title in April, and then clearing 4.03 meters last week at the Redlands Last Chance Meet. 

Her 4.0-meter clearance at the NCAA Championships on Friday came on her first attempt, and only Emma Rudolph of Westminster (Pa.) and Meghan Matheny of Ithaca were able to follow suit. All three of them missed on their first two attempts at 4.05 meters, and if all three failed to clear on their third and final try, Simon was in position to finish first based on needing only one try to clear the previous height. 

Simon went first and nearly had the clearance she needed, getting her legs over the bar successfully, but just clipping it with her upper body. Rudolph then went second and had the bar wobble for a couple seconds before staying up, putting her past Simon into first place. Matheny followed with a successful vault as well, and then added another one at 4.10 meters to take first place.  

Simon missed on her first vault of the day at 3.65 meters, when she actually cleared the bar with little difficulty with her body, but her pole fell into it after letting it go. She easily cleared on her second attempt, though, which was her first of five straight successful vaults. She cleared on her first try at 3.8 and 3.85, before passing at 3.9, and then clearing again on her first try at 3.95 and 4.0. In past runs to All-America honors, she frequently came through in the clutch on third attempts, but didn't need them this time as she closed out the year strong. 

With the third-place finish, Simon picked up six points towards the CMS team total, and Caroline DelVecchio will see how many she can add to that by competing in the finals of the 400-meter hurdles to close out the season for the Athenas.