May 27, 2010

By Chuck Murr
Special to

BEREA, Ohio -- Anna Heim of Moravian College won the women's pole vault with a record effort of 13 feet, 6 1/2 inches Thursday at the NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Track & Field Championships at Baldwin-Wallace College.

Heim, a senior who had finished third in 2008 and second a year ago, finally beat her friend and rival Rachel Secrest of North Central College. Secrest, the defending champion, placed second at 13-2 1/2.

"To beat a competitor like Rachel makes me very happy," said Heim, who set a personal best and all-time Division III record of 13-8 1/4 in winning the indoor title earlier this year.

Heim failed at her attempts at 13-9 after winning the title on a hot and humid afternoon.

"I didn't know that is where they set it and I didn't want to know," she said. "It is tough enough to go and compete without worrying where the bar is at that point. That (13-9) was the Olympic standard and it would have been nice to do it, but I'm delighted at what I accomplished.

"My goal at the start of each season is to clear 13 feet and then see if I can improve from there. I did a lot of work in the off-season and it paid off."

Secrest said she knew she was in trouble when Heim cleared 13-6 1/2.

"My best ever is 13-6, so when Anna went past that, I tried to follow and just missed," Secrest said.

Hayley Suckow of Wisconsin Eau Claire finished third in the pole vault at 12-10 3/4.