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.
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