Delsea’s Nico Morales, a junior at Rutgers, cleared a lifetime-best 16-9 ½ Saturday to place 2nd in the college pole vault at the 127th annual Penn Relays. The competition was held indoors because of poor weather in West Philly.
Morales passed at opening height of 15-0 and cleared 15-5 ¾ and 15-11 ¾ on his second attempt. With the bar at a PR 16-5 ½ he missed twice before clearing on his final try. The bar went up to 16-9 ½ and after missing is first try he cleared on his second. After nine attempts, he went out at 17-1 ½. Christian Di Nicolantonio of Catholic University in Washington, D.C., won on fewer misses. He cleared 16-9 ½ on his first attempt.
Morales moved into the No. 4 spot on the all-time Rutgers list with the best clearance in 10 years, since Chris Wykoff from Toms River East got over the bar at 17-0 ¾ at the 2013 NCAA East Preliminary.
Mark Vinci from Fox Lane High School in Bedford, N.Y., set the school record of 17-0 ¾ at the 2000 IC4A Championships in Princeton and Steve Keating of Pompton Lakes cleared 17-0 at the 1989 Metropolitan Championships at Columbia University.
Morales came into the spring season with a PR of 16-1 ¼ from a meet in January in Orlando, Fla., and he extended it to 16-2 ¾ earlier this month in a meet at Princeton. His indoor PR is 16-0 ¾ from a meet in January of 2022 in Boston.
His clearance Saturday will likely be considered an indoor mark. It would rank No. 3 in Rutgers history indoors behind Ed Keefe’s 17-4 ½ [2008 Big East in Syracuse] and Vinci’s 17-2 ¾ [couldn’t find details].
Either way, it’s a nearly seven-inch PR and No. 8 this this year in the Big 10 Conference.