Clayton Fritsch brings home gold for Team USA

SHSU AthleticsSam Houston State jumper Clayton Fritsch, center, poses on the medal stand after winning gold for Team USA at the U-23 NACAC championships in Querétaro, Mexico earlier this summer.

Sam Houston State track and field standout Clayton Fritsch isn’t done representing the Bearkats on the global stage.

The junior pole vaulter is set to compete for Team USA on Saturday at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. The Pan American Games is the third-largest international multisport event, featuring 6,680 athletes from 41 member nations.

Fritsch is coming off a seventh-place finish at the USATF Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa last month.

“With not jumping like I wanted to at (USATF Outdoor Championships), I get another shot to end the season with a better performance on a high level of competition,” Fritsch said. “Getting to wear the USA on my chest will always be a special moment for me in my career and is something I’ll never forget.”

This marks the second international competition this summer for the Sealy native. He won the pole vault competition at the U-23 North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association Championships in Querétaro, Mexico in June, setting a meet record with his mark of 18 feet, 4 ½ inches.

Fritsch’s eventful summer follows a breakout sophomore season, which was capped by a third-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships — the highest finish at the event in Sam Houston State track and field history.