HUNTSVILLE - Sam Houston State pole vaulter Clayton Fritsch is not done yet representing the red, white and blue this summer.
The junior will be jumping for Team USA at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. Fritsch will compete on Aug. 10 at the National Sports Village.
Fritsch is coming off a seventh-place finish at the USATF Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on July 27. He topped 17 feet, 11 inches on his first attempt, but did not clear the next height to advance.
“With not jumping like I wanted to at (USATF Outdoor Championships), I get another shot to end the season with a better performance on a high level of competition,” Fritsch said. “Getting to wear the USA on my chest will always be a special moment for me in my career and something I’ll never forget.”
As the third-largest international multisport event, the 2019 Pan American Games will be home to 6,680 athletes from the 41-member nations of the Pan American Sports Organization. Participating athletes will compete in 39 sports across more than 60 disciplines.
This is the largest Pan American Games in history, stretching across 14 districts in Lima and Callao.
Fritsch’s appearance at the Games is his second international competition this summer and the latest addition to his impressive 2018-19 season at Sam Houston State.
He won the pole vault competition for Team USA in June at the 2019 U-23 North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association Championships in Querétaro, Mexico. His mark of 18 feet, 4 ½ inches also set the meet record.
The Sealy native easily qualified for the USATF Outdoor Championships with a jump of 18 feet, 10 ¼ inches in May when he placed third at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Austin. The height was also the sixth-best in the country.
Fritsch was named a first-team All-American by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association following the outdoor season. He also placed seventh at the NCAA indoor championships last fall, which also makes him the first Sam Houston State student-athlete to be both an indoor and outdoor first-team All-American honoree.
He joins Matt Johnson as the only other Sam Houston State track and field student-athlete to compete at the Pan American Games. Johnson finished 10th in the decathlon in 2011.