Montana State University

MSU's Rudy is tops at nationals

March 12, 2007 -- by Bill Lamberty, MSU Sports Information Director

MSU's Ellie Rudy won the women's vault title at the NCAA 2007 indoor track and field championships in Fayetteville, Ark., with a vault of 14'1." MSU Athletics photo by Dean Hendrickson.   High-Res Available

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Ellie Rudy knew her mission was simple.

"Just get over the bar," Rudy said with a laugh after winning the 2007 NCAA Indoor Pole Vault National Championship on Saturday. "That's pole vaulting boiled down, just get over the bar."

Rudy got over bars in record-setting fashion on Saturday at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. The sophomore from Woodland Park, Colo., cleared a Big Sky record 14-1.5 on five vaults without a miss. Trouble was, so did Florida's Natalie Moser.

"I wasn't sure, but I thought we were tied," Rudy said. "Tom (Eitel, MSU's vaults coach) told me right away I was tied, so I never got out of it mentally. That was important."

Still, Rudy said, it was a challenge. "It was like running a 200 (meter race) and being done, but then having someone tell you you're not done, you have to get up and run 300 more. The second I was done my body was exhausted, but I had to keep going."

Rudy said confidence and experience carried the day. "I never got nervous, which was sweet," she said. "I've been here before. I felt good today. I didn't feel spectacular, but I felt good. I knew I was going to make (14-1), and when you know you're going to do something you do it."

Eitel detected Rudy's fatigue, but said a tactical decision played a key role.

"I knew Ellie was out of gas, but I knew (Moser) was even more tired," he said. "We kept Ellie on a medium pole to save energy. The other girl was on a stiff pole for height, but Ellie really stayed consistent."

Saturday's historical nature wasn't lost on Bobcat head coach Dale Kennedy.

"This is tremendously exciting, and shows that if you're a talented kid and you're willing to work hard you can reach this level at a school like Montana State. This is quite a moment."