Claims Pole Vault Title at Penn
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Sophomore Stacie Manuel became
the fourth Lady Razorback in University of Arkansas history to win a Penn
Relays championship on Thursday afternoon when she took the pole vault
title at the 110th running of the storied event in Philadelphia, Pa.
Manuel cleared a personal best outdoors of
13 feet, 9 ½ inches to easily surpass her competition and win the Lady
Razorbacks second Penn Relays pole vault title in as many years. A season
best for the all-American vaulter, Manuel was on the cusp of clearing
the height throughout the outdoor season, in fact, Manuel had cleared
14 feet earlier this season, but because it was competed indoors did not
count as a NCAA qualifier.
"It felt good to get over the bar," Manuel
said. "A lot of people failed to clear a bar and I didn't come in until
after most of the field was already out of the competition, but to finally
get the mark outdoors feels great."
Manuel follows in the footsteps of former
Lady Razorback April Steiner who won the Penn Relays title a year ago
by clearing an Arkansas and Penn Relays record 14 feet.
Also returning to form was senior Jessica Johnson
who jumped a season best 5-10 ½ in the high jump to finish fifth overall.
The runner-up at the Penn Relays a year ago, Johnson exhausted her eligibility
indoors in 2003 and made her 2004 debut at the Texas Relays at the beginning
of April. Clearing heights of 5-6 and 5-8 already this season, Johnson's
Penn Relays effort was her best of the season and puts her high on the
"I am happy that I am finally getting to where
I was a year ago," Johnson said. "It took me a while to get back, but
I am felling really good now and hope that this continues throughout the
Arkansas' field event personnel were not the only
ones who enjoyed success on the first day of the Relays as sophomore Maureen
Scott continued her fabulous spring with another personal best in the
steeplechase. Already the Southeastern Conference leader in the event,
Scott ran 10:18.83 to finish second overall and drop her season and career
best in the event by six seconds. On Scott's heels in the event was junior
Shiloh Whiting, the defending SEC Champion, who crossed the line in fourth
place at 10:24.79, also a career best time.
"I am really proud of the way that everyone
competed today," Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. "This was a total
team effort and we made a lot of people take notice of the type of team
that we can put on the track. In the steeplechase, Maureen and Shiloh
ran exceptional and I feel that they are only touching the surface of
The Lady Razorback sprinters were not to be
denied at the Penn Relays as the 4x100-meter relay team of Shaneatra Neely,
Veronica Campbell, Kasia Williams and LaShaunte'a Moore clocked a season
best time of 44.94 to finish second in their heat, but fifth overall to
qualify for the Championship of America final. The time is also a NCAA
regional qualifier bringing Arkansas' Thursday total to seven.
Rounding out Arkansas' first day activities
at the Penn Relays were Jodi Driggers who sailed over a career best 12-10.25
in the pole vault, Brandy Blackwood who had a near season best of 181-5
in the hammer throw and the Lady Razorback distance medley relay team
who finished ninth with a time of 11:20.52.
The Lady Razorbacks continue competition at
the Penn Relays on Friday with three Championship of America finals and
the preliminaries of the 100 meters and 100-meter hurdles. For more information
about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women's athletics, please
go to www.ladybacks.com.