Clayton Fritsch has turned heads throughout 2019, a trend he hopes to continue on Saturday against the best in the country.
The Sam Houston State pole vaulter and Sealy native will go toe-to-toe with some of the nation’s top track and field athletes this weekend, as he heads to Des Moines, Iowa for the United States Track and Field Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium. He is scheduled to compete on Saturday during Day 3 of the four-day event, which begins today.
This marks just the latest moment in which Fritsch has made the Bearkats proud during a prolific sophomore campaign that has spilled over into a wildly successful summer.
In his second season with the Bearkats, Fritsch became the first athlete in school history to medal at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, finishing third with the fifth-highest jump in the history of the meet. He was also tabbed as a first-team All-American by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Fritsch is the first Sam Houston State student-athlete to earn both indoor and outdoor first-team All-American honors. His mark of 18 feet, 10 ¼ inches from the NCAA Outdoor Championships in May qualified him for this week’s event.
“It’s come together far better than I would’ve imagined when the year started, but I’m extremely happy it has,” Sam Houston State jumps coach Cutter Bernhard said. “I knew he had all the talent and ability to do it, I just didn’t think it was going to be quite this soon.”
The Bearkat track and field standout has considerable momentum heading into the USATF Outdoor Championships, following an impressive performance on the international stage.
Fritsch won the pole vault event while representing Team USA last month at the 2019 U-23 North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association Championships in Querétaro, Mexico. His winning jump of 18 feet, 4 ½ inches set the meet record.
“This competition definitely gave me a slight boost in confidence moving forward,” Fritsch said at the time. “Being able to jump without my coach there and just being there by myself helped me prove to myself that I can do this no matter the adversity I face.”
Saturday’s events can be live streamed via NBC Sports Gold.