Colorado School of Mines sophomore and former Kingwood High School athlete Jake Pinkston won a national championship in the pole vault in the NCAA Division II Track & Field Championships at Johnson C. Smith University last weekend.
Pinkston has consistently been in the top 3 spots of the NCAA rankings for his sport. He still stays in touch with many of the young Kingwood vaulters still in high school.
Pinkston’s performance May 26 helped Mines reach their seventh Division II national championship and their first-ever win in a field event. Pinskston’s jump of 5.28M to win was one of four podium spots for the School of Mines. Pinkston is Mines’ first individual national champion in nearly a decade when Mack McLain won the indoor mile championship in 2011.
Pinkston came into the competition with a No. 2 national ranking. He and Mines teammate Connor McLean, a junior heptathlete, have been passing record jumps between them all year. McLean exited early from the competition with a jump of 4.98M, and Pinkston found himself up against two final competitors from Colorado Mesa and Grant Valley State. Pinkston jumped first, then watched as the other athletes put up X’s, giving him the national title.