EUGENE, Ore. – Melinda (Owen) Withrow, a Polson native, advanced to Sunday’s finals of the pole vault at the Olympic Trials at Hayward Field.
Withrow, 31, cleared 4.35 meters in the qualifying round on Friday. She is one of 14 women who will vault on Sunday attempting to earn a berth at the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil. Jenn Suhr, the 2012 Olympic champion, has the top qualifying height of 4.50 meters.
Sunday’s finals are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. (MST).
Withrow was born in St. Ignatius, but competed in high school at Polson. She graduated in 2003, helping the Pirates to the Class A track and field team championship. She set the all-class record in the javelin with a throw of 143 feet, 9 inches, and cleared 12 feet in the pole vault to earn two gold medals. Withrow still owns the Class A javelin record, but Marissa Tschida of Missoula Loyola broke the all-class record in 2005.
After high school, Withrow attended Idaho from 2004-08. She holds both the Vandals’ indoor and outdoor pole vault records, and won six individual WAC championships. Withrow finished fifth at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Withrow has remained competitive since finishing her college career and was an Olympic Trials finalist in both 2008 and 2012.