Denk earns All-America honors

June 7, 2018

NCAA Championships Official Results | Photo credit: Rick Morgan
EUGENE, Ore. —
Vanderbilt pole vaulter Kristen Denk earned second team All-America honors Thursday after producing a 12th-place individual finish at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships held on the University of Oregon campus.

Denk, a product of North Royalton, Ohio, capped her first year competing for the Commodores by clearing 4.10 meters (13-1.50) and 4.15 meters (13-7.25) on her first attempts. That clearance put the redshirt sophomore solidly in contention for a top-five individual finish, but she was unable to match her personal best and school mark with three attempts at 4.30 meters (14-1.25).

Vanderbilt pole vault Clark Humphreys was happy with his pupil’s first appearance at the national championships.

“Kristen did a great job and I’m really proud of how she performed,” Humphreys said. “She definitely came to compete and was right where she needed to be after two clear jumps.

“That third bar (4.30 meters) matched Kristen’s personal record so we knew it was going to take a special attempt. She had a couple good attempts but just couldn’t quite get over the bar,” Humphreys added.

Denk joined Vanderbilt teammate Sarah Bell as back-to-back All-America pole vaulters for the Commodores. In 2017, Bell earned first team All-America recognition by clearing the same 4.15-meter standard as Denk.

Denk’s spring performance ranks among the best outdoor campaigns ever by a Vanderbilt vaulter. She consistently jumped 4.15 meters, and established a new team record in early April by clearing 4.30 meters at the Tennessee Relays in Knoxville.

Denk’s superb outdoor campaign included a third-place result at the NCAA East Regional and fifth-place result at the SEC Championship in addition to the All-America result Thursday in Eugene.

Denk becomes the 11th Vanderbilt athlete to claim All-America recognition at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Other recent Commodore All-Americans are Bell and 800-meter specialist Courtney Clayton in 2017 and triple jumper Simone Charley (2014-16).

A list of Vanderbilt’s outdoor All-Americans follows:
Year Name, Event
2018 Kristen Denk (2nd team), pole vault
2017 Sarah Bell (1st team), pole vault
2017 Courtney Clayton (1st team), 800 meters
2016 Simone Charley (1st team), triple jump
2015 Simone Charley (1st team), triple jump
2014 Simone Charley (2nd team), triple jump
2004 Josie Hahn, heptathlon
2004 Erika Schneble, 5,000 meters
2003 Josie Hahn, heptathlon
1998 Stacy Carpenter, 800 meters
1998 Amanda Helberg, 400 meters
1997 Ryan Tolbert, 400 meter hurdles
1997 Leslie Vidmar, shot put
1994 Beth Tallent 3,000 meters