books, as she won the Southeastern Conference's first-ever women's pole
vault competition last weekend and helped Tennessee to a sixth-place overall
finish with 51 1/2 points at the SEC Championships in Baton Rouge, La.
Henley, a native of Manchester, Tenn., cleared the bar with a career-best
height of 11 feet, 5 3/4 inches to finish first and provide UT with 10 points.
The vault propelled her into a tie for the 14th-best collegiate mark of
the season by a female and gave her a chance to be one of 15 women invited
to the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Ind., for the NCAA Indoor Championships
on March 13 and 14.
"This is incredible," Henley said. "It's really exciting
to have the opportunity to compete in the first SEC pole vault championship
for women. The competition was great. They were all pushing hard. I wish
I could have gotten that last height (11-8), but I'm satisfied."
Henley wasn't the only Lady Volunteer making a splash in the vault. Sophomore
Beth Gehring brought home third-place honors with a mark of 11 feet 1 3/4
inches. The work by the pair gave Tennessee a first-day total of 16 points,
which was good enough for fifth.
On Sunday, UT rolled up 35 1/2 points to place sixth overall, giving
the Big Orange its best finish since taking fourth with 64 points in 1995.
Last season, Tennessee tied Arkansas for seventh with 33 points.
Major contributors on day two included Kelli White, Saidah Jones, Lesly
Love and Michelle Elfervig. White placed third in the 55 meters with a career-bet
6.81 in the finals and followed that up with a fifth-place showing in the
200 meters in 24.14. Jones and Love, meanwhile, took third and fifth in
the 400 meters with times of 55.54 and 56.08, respectively. Elfervig tied
a career-best leap in the high jump, soaring over the bar at 5 feet, 8 1/2
inches to notch fifth-place honors.
Selected Lady Vols will be in action on Saturday at the East Tennessee
State Last Chance Qualifier Meet in Johnson City. They will be hoping to
qualify for the NCAA meet in Indianapolis.
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