June 13, 2008
DES MOINES, Iowa - University of New Mexico senior Robert Caldwell capped his sensational collegiate career by finishing sixth to earn All-America honors in the men's pole vault finals this evening at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium. The Socorro, N.M. product cleared 17' 2 3/4" (5.25m) to become the Lobos' first outdoor All-American in the event since 1991. It was the second All-America award for Caldwell, who finished tied for eighth at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Caldwell cleared the opening bar of 16' 8 3/4" (5.10m) on his first attempt and surpassed the 17-foot mark on hi second run. He missed, however, on all three attempts at 17' 6 1/2" (5.35m).
As expected, it was a hard-fought, unpredictable competition between the 15 finalists. Clemson senior Mitch Greeley, who was one of the favorites entering Friday, exited without clearing a single bar. Texas freshman Maston Wallace, however, won the event after becoming the only man to surpass 17' 6 1/2".
Caldwell was one of six men to clear 17' 2 3/4", but his two attempts at the bar caused him to slip to sixth. He still joined Simon Arkell as the only Lobos' to earn outdoor All-America honors in the event and the lone UNM vaulters to earn All-America accolades twice in their career.
Earlier, through the first four events of the women's heptathlon competition, New Mexico junior Sandy Fortner finished 14th with a score of 3,293 - just 66 points shy of seventh place.
Fortner opened the day with a personal record time of 14.34 in the 100-meter hurdles (17th), followed by a solid mark of 5' 5 1/2" (1.66m) in the high jump (T-12th). She continued her climb with a toss of 42' 3 1/2" (12.89m) in the shot put (5th), followed by a time of 25.56 in the 200 meters (18th).
The product of tiny Fort Sumner, N.M. resumes competition tomorrow afternoon with the long jump, javelin and 800-meter run. Fellow junior and New Mexico product Katie Coronado (Ruidoso, N.M.) will also be in action on Saturday in the finals of the women's javelin.