It was the youngins’ time to shine at the U23 North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) track and field championships in Querétaro, Mexico, and one Sealy native did just that.
Before his sophomore year at Sam Houston State was finished, Clayton Fritsch added another title to his name; international pole vault champion.
Not only did he finish with the top clearance, but Fritsch, and American counterpart Zachery Bradford, a freshman from the University of Kansas, took home the meet record that was set in 2010.
Both Americans cleared 5.60 meters to take a 0.7-meter lead ahead of the third-place finisher, Natan Rivera of El Salvador and a current freshman at Rice University, but Fritsch needed fewer attempts at the mark and earned the gold medal in his first shot at representing his country. The U.S. vaulters also bested the meet record by .04 meters that had stood since fellow Jayhawk Jordan Scott reached that mark in 2010 to take the top spot.
Fritsch helped punch a ticket to the international championship meet with a historic outdoor season that ended with a school record and the first medal for a Sam Houston Bearkat in the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Although Mexico ended the three-day competition with the most medals (63) they were bolstered by 29 bronze medals on top of 19 gold and 15 silver medals whereas America won 27 gold medals, 23 silver and six more bronze medals for a total of 56. Jamaica finished with the third-highest total with 39 medals spread across 18 of the gold variety, 13 silver and eight bronze medals.