TRACK & FIELD: King has eyes on title at NCAA Indoor Championships

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HAMMOND, La. – With two national meets under his belt, Southeastern Louisiana junior Devin King feels he has the experience needed to make a run at the pole vault title at the NCAA Division I Indoor National Championships Friday at the Gilliam Indoor Track in College Station, Texas.

King, a native of Kentwood, Louisiana, tied for third with Virginia Tech’s Deakin Volz at the 2016 Indoor Nationals after clearing 17 feet, 6.5 inches. He went on to finish third at the Outdoor National Championships with a vault of 17-10.5. King earned first-team All-America honors in both seasons, becoming the eighth two-time All-American in Lions’ track history.

“I think I’m a little more prepared than I was last year,” King said. “I’m more consistent over 17-11 and I’ve been over the 18 mark. I feel like I’ve grown and matured and I’m more ready than last year. Of course, with (Southeastern senior weight thrower) Alex (Young) winning the USA Track nationals (on Sunday), I feel I’m more determined.”

The pole vault competition is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Friday. ESPN3 will stream the meet live starting at 5:25 p.m. A re-air of the championship will take place on Sunday starting at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. Live stats, provided by the NCAA, will be accessible on the Southeastern track and field schedule page at www.LionSports.net.

King, the lone Southland Conference athlete to qualify for the championship, is seeded seventh with a Southeastern-record mark of 18-01 inch, achieved in winning the conference championship last month. He just missed at 18-5.25, which would have broken the conference record of 18-04.75.

King, a first-team All-Southland Conference selection, had tied his school record of 17-11.25 at the LSU Twilight. He went undefeated in six meets and was twice named Southland Field Athlete of the Week during the indoor campaign.

South Dakota freshman Chris Nilsen (18-8-.25) and Volz (18-6.75) are the top qualifiers in the pole vault. King believes it will take a vault of 18-04 or 18-06 to win. Washington senior Jax Thoirs won it last year at 18-0.5

“This my third time and third time’s the charm, right?,” said King, who also holds the school outdoor record of 18-8.25. “I’m going to stay focus and try my hardest to win.”

King’s Southeastern teammates head to Lake Charles Saturday for the McNeese Bob Hayes Invitational. Live stats, provided by McNeese, will be accessible on the Southeastern track and field schedule page at www.LionSports.net.

NCAA Division I Indoor Championship Qualifiers
Men’s Pole Vault
1. Chris Nilsen South Dakota 5.70m
2. Deakin Volz Virginia Tech 5.66m
3. Kyle Pater Air Force 5.65m
4. Adrian Valles Cincinnati 5.60m
5. Torben Laidig Virginia Tech 5.55m
6. Jake Albright Kansas 5.54m
7. Devin King Southeastern La. 5.51m
8. Matthew Ludwig Akron 5.51m
9. Barrett Poth Texas 5.50m
10. Nate Richartz Notre Dame 5.50m
11. Tim Ehrhardt Michigan St. 5.49m
12. Paulo Benavides Kansas 5.47m
13. Chase Smith Washington 5.47m
14. Nick Maestretti Kansas 5.46m
15. Tray Oates Samford 5.46m
16. Audie Wyatt Texas A&M 5.46m

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