ABILENE – The Sam Houston State University track team competed in their final meet before the NCAA West Preliminary competition. Select athletes traveled to Abilene, Tx and competed in the Last Chance Meet over the weekend.

The Bearkats had two standout athletes in the field event competitions. Sophomore Clayton Fritsch won the pole vault event and set a school record with his event-winning jump. Senior Aaron Akens won the hammer throw setting a mark that places him second all-time in SHSU history.

Fritsch jumped a 5.71m (18’ 8.75”) to take the event. He holds the fourth spot in the NCAA National Ranking. He also stands in fourth in the American Outdoor Ranking and ninth in the IAAF World Ranking.

Akens threw for a mark of 68.25m, which is second all-time in Sam Houston State history behind only Chris Cralle who finished 2nd at the 2012 Olympic Trials.

He stands at No. 18 in the NCAA National Ranking and sits in the top 20 in the American Outdoor Ranking.


Fritsch on the feeling of setting a school record and his excitement to compete in the preliminaries with a chance to qualify for nationals…

“It definitely feels great to rewrite the history books! I felt like this meet was just another sign that the hard work is paying off! I’m definitely excited for this postseason, can’t wait to see what’s in store. But, first I need to get past prelims to qualify for nationals, so right now I just need to take it one meet at a time”

Akens on how it felt to have a performance like the one he had over the weekend…

“This meet was a very fun experience. I went in with the mindset of having fun and just fine-tuning before regionals. Luckily, I came out with a huge PR and now I’m only 2cm’s from the school record. That was a great confidence boost going into NCAA’s”

This coming week is an exciting one as the Bearkats will find out which of the program’s athletes will qualify for the NCAA West Preliminary competition. The athletes who qualify will travel to Sacramento and compete from May 23-25 with a chance to move on to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Austin, Tx.