Seniors Leslie Henley and Michelle Elfervig made their final trip to the

Penn Relays as Lady Vols a special one, as they claimed first-place honors

in the pole vault and high jump, respectively, this weekend. Their performance

highlighted a strong showing by the Tennessee women at the 104th edition

of the prestigious meet in Philadelphia.

After missing on the first two attempts at her opening height of 10 feet,

Henley shook off the rain, the cold and some nagging injuries to clear the

bar and vault her way her way into Penn Relays history.

The Manchester, Tenn., native sailed over 10-6, 10-11 3/4 and a UT record-tying

11-5 3/4 on her first three tries at those heights before soaring successfully

over 11-11 3/4 on her second attempt. That mark established a Lady Vol outdoor

best and rewrote Franklin Field and Penn Relays records. Even higher marks

appear within reach, as the Lady Vol tri-captain had three solid attempts

at 12-2 3/4 before putting away her pole.

Henley, whose previous career best indoors or out (11-5 3/4) came in

winning the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships in February, broke

the UT outdoor mark of teammate Beth Gehring. As far as the previous facility

and meet marks at Penn, they had been held by Shannon Walker of Bates College

(Maine) since the 1996 carnival.

Also competing in the nasty conditions, Elfervig posted her best collegiate

height of 5-8 3/4 to capture the college women's high jump. The Germantown,

Tenn., native made successful clearances of 5-6, 5-7 3/4 and the winning

height on her second attempt.

"The thing that impressed me about both of them was that despite

the inclement weather, they had great focus and intensity," UT field

events coach Scott Bennett said. "They just didn't let it bother them.

On top of that, Leslie came in with some injuries (hip flexor/shin splints),

so I also tip my hat to her for her perseverance. I'm proud of both of them."

On Saturday, sprinter Kelli White equaled her preliminary time of 11.48

seconds to take second to LSU's Peta-Gaye Dowdie (11.37). In the relay events,

Tennessee took third in the 4x100-meter relay (Anissa Campbell, Erica Witter,

Saidah Jones, Kelli White) and won the consolation 4x400.

Copyright © 1998, The Daily Beacon. All rights reserved.