UofL has another national champion on its roster, and this win took the track and field program to new heights.

Senior Gabriela Leon won the 2022 NCAA outdoor pole vault competition, becoming the first women’s outdoor national champion in program history with a pole vault height of 4.60 meters (15-1) on day two of the contest at Oregon’s Hayward Field in Eugene.

“I am speechless; this is a dream come true,” Leon said. “Having all the hard work and dedication pay off means the world to me. I am not the only one who deserves the applause. I want to thank God for being by my side through this process and giving me strength to show the world what he can do when you work hard and let him do the rest. I also want to thank Coach (Brooke) Rasnick, staff, teammates, fans, trainers and family.”

Leon, who also earned first-team All American honors, became the fourth-ever collegiate women’s pole vaulter with three clearances of 4.60 meters (15-1) and the nly this season with three marks over 4.57 meters (15-0). Earlier this season, she set the women’s outdoor pole vault school record of 4.61 meters (15-1.5), which finished first in the ACC and second nationally.

It also ranks as the second-best all-time ACC women’s outdoor pole vault mark and eighth-best all-time outdoor performer mark in collegiate history. Leon also won her second straight ACC women’s outdoor pole vault title and was named ACC Women’s Field Performer of the Week three times in 2022.

“(The) women’s pole vault competition was the perfect capstone to Gabriela Leon’s collegiate career,” head coach Dale Cowper said. “She has accomplished so much during the last five years and now we have the privilege of calling her a national champion. This does not happen without the guidance of Coach Rasnick and the tireless effort of our support staff. I am truly thankful for everyone that helps our student-athletes compete at the highest level.”