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Helena's Chase Smith claims pole vault title at Pac-12 track and field championships

Chase Smith
Posted at 3:18 PM, May 17, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- Helena native Chase Smith won the men's pole vault title at the Pac-12 Conference track and field championships on Sunday.

Smith, a sixth-year senior at the University of Washington, entered the event with the bar at 16 feet, 7.25 inches and went on to win at 17-1. It's the first conference title for Smith, who had previously finished no higher than fourth at the conference championships. But on Sunday he cleared 16-7.25 on his second try and then was the only athlete to clear 17-1. Stanford's JT Herrscher and UCLA's Kyle Brown each missed on three attempts at 17-1.

Smith is a four-time All-American at UW, where he started his college career in 2016. At Helena High School, Smith won the 2015 Class AA state championship, clearing 16-4 to set the Montana state record.

Three other Montanans -- Christina Aragon of Billings Senior, Delaney Bahn of Bozeman High and Aislinn Overby of Bozeman High -- added top-10 finishes at the Pac-12 championships over the weekend.

Aragon, a fifth-year senior at Stanford, placed third in the women's 1,500-meter run. She crossed the finish line in 4 minutes, 16.10 seconds, just behind first-place finisher Ella Donaghu (4:15.43) of Stanford and second-place finisher Micaela Degenero (4:15.80) of Colorado.

Bahn, a freshman at Oregon State, finished seventh in the long jump. She marked a personal-best jump of 6.05 meters (19 feet, 5.5 inches) on her third attempt. Bahn also placed 12th in the high jump, two places behind Overby, who is now a sophomore at Washington State. Overby cleared 1.65 meters to place 10th in the event, just out of the points.

Annie Hill, a Kalispell Glacier product now competing at Colorado, competed in the women's 1,500- and 5,000-meter runs, placing 17th and 16th in the preliminaries, respectively.

Lauren Heggen, a Missoula Sentinel graduate now in her freshman year at Washington, placed 13th in the women's triple jump.