|Adversity strikes again|
EUGENE, Ore. - For the second day in a row, disappointment shadowed Idaho at the NCAA Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field on Thursday.
Idaho sophomore Gabby Midles finished 13th in the women's hammer throw with a toss of 185-1 (56.42m) in her first career NCAA Championships action to start the day. Midles was the first Vandal woman to compete in the event in school history.
The second event of the day, the men's pole vault, was marred by controversy. Idaho sophomore Jeremy Klas easily cleared his opening height of 16-4.75 (5.00m), and then cleared his second height, which was supposed to be 16-10.75 (5.15m). The problem came after nearly the entire field had gone through the second height, when the officials noticed that they had forgotten to raise the bar to the proper height and that the field had been attempting 16-4.75 again.
After a lengthy delay, it was determined that the second round needed to be restarted and the makes and misses wiped from the sheet, and Klas, who was the only competitor without a miss at that point, missed at 16-10.75 and ultimately finished 16th. Multiple schools filed a protest that was eventually denied.
"It's very unfortunate and you don't expect something like this to happen at an NCAA meet," Idaho co-head coach Wayne Phipps said. "I know it's a difficult decision for the officials to make at the spur of the moment to try to do something that's fair for everybody, but the situation certainly didn't end up being fair for Jeremy, and that's unfortunate because of how well he started the competition."
Phipps also said he was proud of the way Klas dealt with the situation.
"He handled it very professionally," Phipps said. "It's difficult in those situations to handle it that way - you watch other athletes respond very differently when things like that happen, but he handled it well.
"It was a very, very unfortunate incident that affected a few of the athletes, and Jeremy just happened to be the one who suffered the most from it."
With four more competitors still left to compete this week, the Idaho coach also said that he doesn't remember ever having such a case of bad luck and that hopefully it's completely out of the system.
Idaho junior Ulrike Hartz had to withdraw from the women's heptathlon early on Wednesday after a foot injury sustained during a run-through in the high jump.
Three Vandal seniors will compete on Friday, as Mykael Bothum will try to add an outdoor All-America award to her two such indoor honors in the women's shot put (4:45 p.m.) and James Rogan and Beau Whitney will try to cap their Idaho careers with strong performances in the men's hammer throw at 4 p.m.