Gunnarsson and Duplantis Claim SEC Awards
Baton Rouge, La. – Fresh off the two best pole vaulting performances in LSU history, Lisa Gunnarsson (Women’s Co-Field Athlete of the Week) and Mondo Duplantis (Male Field Athlete of the Week) were recognized by the Southeastern Conference for their exceptional performances in their Purple and Gold debuts.
The Swedish duo stole the show in Fayetteville on the first day of the Razorback Invitational. Taking to the pole vault pit first was Gunnarsson. Competing against a three-time national champion in the event, Lexi Jacobus (Arkansas), and a couple of other Razorbacks, Gunnarsson cleared the bar five times en route to setting the LSU school record with a season-best mark of 4.51 meters (14-9.50). Gunnarsson, only a sophomore, dethroned Rachel Laurent’s (2010) previous school-best clearance of 4.35 meters (14-3.50). The mark by Gunnarsson is tied for the NCAA lead in alongside Jacobus and Victoria Hoggard of Arkansas.
Duplantis entered his first collegiate meet at the height of 5.46 meters (17-11.00). After an initial miss at the opening height, the freshman reeled off four-straight clearances to break Russ Buller’s 20-year old school record. Duplantis’ best clearance of the evening at the Randal Tyson Track Center was 5.83 meters (19-1.50), an inch and a quarter higher than Buller’s collegiate best. Duplantis took three attempts at what would have been a collegiate record, 5.92 meters (19-5.00), but he was unable to clear that bar. The clearance of 5.83 meters is the second best in the world for 2019, the third-best indoor clearance in NCAA history, and currently tied for the NCAA lead.
The awards for Gunnarsson and Duplantis are the first of their SEC careers. Gunnarsson and Duplantis are both scheduled to compete at LSU’s home meet, the Bayou Bengal, on Friday at the Carl Maddox Field House. The women’s pole vault competition is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m., and the men’s pole vault will get going at 5:30 p.m.