NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)- Since coming to Stephen F. Austin prior to the 2014-15 academic year, pole vault sensation Demi Payne has broken multiple collegiate records, claimed USATF indoor and NCAA outdoor national titles, collected an array of prestigious awards and competed for Team USA internationally. Payne will next look to add to her impressive resume by qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games to compete for the Red, White and Blue.
The former Ladyjack has qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials for track and field and will first jump in the women's pole vault competition on Friday, July 8 beginning at 5:00 p.m. CT at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. The field will be narrowed down on Friday and the top athletes will jump again on Sunday, July 10 beginning at 4:30 p.m. CT. Payne can secure her ticket to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with a top three finish at the same venue in which she captured SFA's first Division I NCAA title in June 2015.
Payne enters qualifying with the third best mark in the country this year. Competing unattached during the indoor season on February 20, she cleared 16-0.75 feet (4.90m) to place second at the highly acclaimed Millrose Games in New York. The personal best mark currently puts Payne at No. 4 on the all-time world indoor list.
During her two years at SFA, Payne transformed into one of the premier pole vaulters in the world. In 2015 alone, she posted 11 of the top 10 jumps all-time in collegiate history between the indoor and outdoor seasons. She still holds five of the best seven vaults indoors, including her collegiate record of 15-7 (4.75m) set in January 2015. On the outdoor circuit, Payne cleared six bars that rank in the top ten in the collegiate record books.
After showcasing one of the best years in collegiate track and field history in 2015, Payne was named one of three women's finalists for the Bowerman Trophy - collegiate track and field's highest individual honor.
She is no stranger to success on the international stage either, as the New Braunfels native qualified for the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China last August and placed fourth for the USA at the Pan American Games in Canada last July.
Fans can follow Payne's upcoming Olympic quest by watching the trials online at USATF.tv or by tuning into the action on the NBC family of networks on July 8 and 10. Updates on her progress will also be provided via Twitter courtesy of SFA Track and Field (@SFA_TFXC).