Rudy's winning height of 14 ft., 1.25 inches tied with April Kubishta of Arizona State. Rudy, however, won the event by virtue of less misses. Last year Rudy won her first national indoor championship at the same height, but by virtue of a jump-off.
"I am so excited that I won clean this time--no jump-off," said the cell biology and neuroscience major from Woodland Park, Colo. "I wanted to win by clearing a higher mark, but I'm happy with a clean win. I'm glad we didn't have a jump off because my wrists were starting to hurt."
Rudy led the event from the beginning as she had only one miss during the competition. As vaulters continue to the next height, they are ranked by number of misses. Kubishta missed at any early height and was playing catch-up all evening. Rudy cleared 14'1.25" on her first attempt. The bar was then moved to 14'3.5", a height that neither Rudy or Kubishta could clear.
"Pretty much every height is a big deal," MSU pole vault coach Tom Eitel said. "You have to be clean as much as possible and the Arizona State girl had a lot of misses. Ellie only missed once so she was never behind."
The height is the same mark Rudy hit for the championships in 2007. Last year, Rudy won by virtue of a jump-off as well as two other vaulters hit the 14'1.25" mark as well-- Florida's Natalie Moser and Kate Sultanova of Kansas.
"It's just terrific for her and for Montana State," head MSU coach Dale Kennedy said. "I can't think of a better representative of our program and our university. She has that great smile on all the time--the officials love her, even her competitors, I think, love her too."
Rudy now shares an MSU distinction with distance runner Shannon Butler as a two-time NCAA champion, and is also the only female MSU athlete to win an NCAA championship. She also joins former Bobcat Shannon Agee Jones as the only female two-time All Americans.
Rudy will redshirt the outdoor season to prepare for a shot at the Olympic team this summer. She still has both an indoor and outdoor season left after 2008 so Rudy will return in 2009 to attempt to become MSU's first three-time NCAA champion.
BOBCAT NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
2008 - Ellie Rudy, pole vault (indoor)
2007 - Ellie Rudy, pole vault (indoor)
1991 - Shannon Butler, 5000 (outdoor)
1990 - Shannon Butler, 10,000 (outdoor)
Chris Syme, (406) 994-4221