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Klas punches NCAA ticket in pole vault
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 03/06/2010
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SEATTLE - Idaho sophomore Jeremy Klas soared his way into the record books and into the book of Vandal track and field lore on Saturday, as he broke the men's pole vault school record and likely assured himself a spot at next weekend's NCAA Championships.

Klas cleared 5.38m (17-7.75) in the men's pole vault to tie for second in the event at the Husky Last Chance qualifier meet on Saturday to eclipse teammate Lucas Pope's former school record of 5.35m (17-6.5).

Most importantly, the vault puts Klas in a tie for 10th nationally in the event and likely assures him a spot at next weekend's national meet - a feat no other Idaho men's pole vaulter has accomplished indoors. Idaho men's vaulters haven't been represented at an NCAA meet since 1952, when Dave Martindale won the national title by clearing 13-9 on a bamboo pole.

Klas will be joined in Fayetteville by Mykael Bothum, who punched her NCAA ticket with a toss of 17.20m (56-5.25) in the women's shot put at the Western Athletic Conference Championships. Bothum hit the NCAA automatic qualifying standard and is guaranteed a spot at the meet.

Pope also competed in the men's vault on Saturday and cleared 5.23m (17-1.25). Women's vaulter K.C. Dahlgren, also a senior, cleared 3.95m (12-11.5) in the women's vault. Both vaulters rank among the top 30 in the nation, but will likely come up just short of qualifying.

Junior Eugenio Mannucci won the men's shot put with a toss of 16.55m (54-3.75), while sophomore James Clark ran a career-best 1:50.91 in the men's 800m and junior teammate Josh Dalton ran a 1:51.51. Seniors Kevin Merkling and Steve Potratz ran 4:13.55 and 4:14.09, respectively, in the men's mile, while sophomore Barry Britt ran 8:24.27 in the men's 3,000m.

Junior hurdler Paul Dittmer traveled to the Virginia Tech Final Qualifier in hopes of running a top 60m hurdles time against strong competition, but ran a best time of 7.92 in the finals and didn't improve on his NCAA rank of 22nd and best time of 7.85.

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