Malykhin named NCAA Division II Men’s National Athlete of the Week

Vlad Malykhin is making headlines as a sophomore when few dream of doing that in their entire career. 

Dating back to last year, the Harding standout has been at the top of the NCAA DII pole vault ranks. This past weekend he proved that standing isn’t going away anytime soon.

Malykhin jumped 5.50m (18-0½) at the Rumble in the Jungle Invitational to notch the fifth-best performance in NCAA DII history and take the win by more than half a meter. That effort also equaled the sixth-best performer on the 2024 seasonal list.

Vlad Malykhin

Malykhin is on the right path to matching his PR of 5.52m (18-1¼) from last year that made him the second-best performer in NCAA DII history. The sole name that stands between him and the top? Billy Olson. The only problem is that the former Abilene Christian standout was way ahead of his time. Olson vaulted 5.74m (18-10) back in 1982 and that was the best the world had seen at the time – yes, a world record.

This is the first time in program history that a male athlete from Harding has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the indoor track and field season.

SEARCY – On the strength of Malykhin’s performance, Harding moved to No. 5 in the NCAA Division II Men’s Indoor Track and Field Ratings. The Bisons moved up five spots from No. 10 in last week’s ratings.

Malykhin is ranked No. 1 in the Division II pole vault at 5.50m (18-00.50). Sophomore Vyes Bilong is second in the triple jump at 15.55m (51-00.25), and sophomore Kelmen de Carvalho is fourth in the heptathlon with 5,392 points.

Other individuals in the top 10 include sophomore Anton Kopytko at sixth in the long jump at 7.74m (24-6.25) and senior Dakarai Bush at seventh in the 400 meters (47.80).

Harding’s 4×400-meter relay team of Bryan Singleton, Tad Kirby, Savian Bush and Derick St. Jean is ranked fifth nationally in 3:14.18.

Harding’s women are ranked 22nd nationally, with freshman Omolara Ogunmakinju fourth in the 400 meters in 54.74 and Paula Pelzer fifth in 55.19.