Fifth-year senior Sydney Clute made her first appearance in a meet all year at the start of the outdoor season at the end of March in Arizona.
The Hoosiers competed in the Big Ten/Pac 12 Invitational on March 24 and 25 at Arizona State, and Clute delivered a record-breaking performance. With this single meet she became the best pole vaulter in the nation with a jump of 4.55 meters, but said that it wasn’t unexpected.
“Things have been going really well in practice,” Clute said. “We’ve been working on a lot of things. I was super excited to clear it so early, and we’re excited for the rest of the season.”
Despite her collegiate success in the sport, Clute, from Greenwood, Indiana, did not pick up pole vaulting until high school. Clute was a gymnast for 13 years and decided to start running track and field in middle school. She participated in the long jump, high jump, sprints and relays. In high school she continued to compete in those four events, and when coaches approached her about pole vaulting, Clute decided to give it a try.
Clute is a three-time All-American. She received the honor for both the indoor and outdoor seasons last year as a junior, and was also a First Team All-American for her outdoor sophomore season.
After her season opener in Arizona, Clute now has the best pole vault mark in school history. In the opening week of track and field outdoor season, Clute also won the the Big Ten athlete of the week.
“I think it still means a lot to everyone just to be recognized,” Clute said. “The cool thing is that you feel part of the Big Ten and that you are connected to the conference more and that you are representing more than just yourself.”
At last weekend’s Tennessee Relays, Clute won the pole vault yet again and was named Most Outstanding Women’s Field Athlete of the meet. Her mark of 4.40 meters set a new meet and facility record.
Going forward Clute said even with all the recognition and awards, she can still improve.
“My goal at the beginning of the season was to clear 4.60 meters which might change to 4.65 meters as the season continues, but I still have a lot of things to work on technically with my vault so just day-to-day,” Clute said.
Clute will be graduating this spring with a masters in tourism hospitality, and she said it will be a bittersweet moment.
“I’m be excited to be graduating but a little sad because I don’t want to leave the team and everything,” Clute said.
After graduating, Clute isn’t leaving Indiana right away. She plans on getting a part-time job and continuing to train at least for the next three years.
“My plan right now is to keep training for a couple of years and we’ll see what happens and where that takes me,” said Clute. “Olympics would be the ultimate goal.”
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