June 13, 2014
EUGENE, Oregon - Rice sophomore McKenzie Johnson was one of four competitors to no height the opening bar in the 24-athlete field of the pole vault event at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, earning USTFCCCA All-America Honorable Mention and putting a close to a breakout season Friday afternoon at historical Hayward Field.
"There were some tough conditions for all the vaulters today with swirling headwinds," Rice head women's track and field coach Jim Bevan said. "But McKenzie gained some valuable experience coming to nationals as just a sophomore. She'll be able to take advantage of being here going into next season."
Johnson, who returned to the West Coast close to her home of San Diego, California, entered the national meet ranked 17th in the nation with her mark of 4.21m (13-9.75), set at the J. Fred Duckett Twilight. Johnson won four of her first five outdoor pole vault events, sandwiched around her only other NH of the season at the Texas Relays. She finished second at the C-USA Outdoor Championships with a jump of 4.08m before placing 12th at the NCAA West Prelims, earning the final qualifying spot for the NCAA Championships.
Akron's Annika Roloff won the event with a height of 4.40m (14-5.25), edging Indiana's Kelsie Ahbe in fewer attempts.
The Rice women will send out their third and fourth NCAA Championship qualifiers on Saturday with Belle MacFarlane in the high jump (2:45 p.m. CT) and Claire Uke in the shot put (3 p.m. CT).