FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Junior Katie Stripling tied the school record in the pole vault for Arkansas Razorback women’s track and field on day two of the Tyson Invitational.
An event that started at 9:30 a.m. and finished roughly around 2 p.m., Stripling cleared 14-3.25 to win the event and tie April Steiner Bennett’s school record of 14-3.25 set in 2003.
"This is awesome, especially coming back from no-heighting last night, and to do this today, it feels pretty good," Stripling said. "I was tired but I definitely wanted to come back (and jump this morning). As soon as I got out last night, I knew I wanted to come jump in the morning. I felt a lot of pressure last night, because of the elite vaulters, and I let that get to me a little bit."
"Today, this is the crowd I’m used to jumping with," Stripling said. "It gives me a lot of confidence to know that I can actually jump those bars and to see how much higher I can get. It was actually a better warm-up last night. We had to sit around a lot before we had the chance to go, because of the large group of vaulters, but it all came together in the end."
Stripling’s clearance of 14-3.25 is a season and personal best, extends her SEC lead and ranks No. 2 in the NCAA.
"It was a good five hours, and then the hour and a half of warm up but it was a good day," assistant coach Bryan Compton said. "Last night she was actually jumping better in warm-ups than she was today. Last night, we didn’t have low enough bars to get her mistakes ironed out, then the bar went up especially with the crowd and everything."
"Today’s more of our comfort zone on the college level, so she felt right at home, instead of jumping against a gold medalist and silver medalist," Compton said. "As soon as we got that auto out of the way a couple weeks ago, you get to go back and work on some things that you think is going to help you down the road, see how they adapt to it, like grip height, just a little bit harder training, and it’s paying off."
Also in the pole vault, sophomore Tara Diebold improved her NCAA provisional mark with a personal best. She cleared 13-7.25 to finish fifth and she currently ranks 12th in the NCAA and third in the SEC.
Because of a facility issue on Friday, the women’s college and championship flights of the vault were combined and started competition at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
The Razorback 4×400-meter relay picked up a much anticipated NCAA provisional time. With a second-place finish, the quartet of junior Karen Thomas (55.60), sophomore Shelise Williams (53.46), senior Janine Davis (55.03) and freshman Whitney Jones (55.44)clocked a time of 3:39.52. They currently rank third in the SEC and 11th in the NCAA.
Earlier in the day, Jones clocked a big personal best in the 200 meters. She finished ninth overall with a time of 24.06.
"Whitney is such a competitor," head coach Lance Harter said. "She competes in so many events for us and is improving every time she competes. The mile relay ran faster with a great crew. It was good to see them put all the pieces together. Last night obviously we were pleased with Denise and today I think we just had some good solid performances because it is kind of a pick and choose meet. It was a final tune-up and now we get ready for SEC’s. I think it is going to be a dogfight between four or five schools on a given day."
The Razorbacks will compete next at the SEC Indoor Championships, Feb. 27 – March 1, at the University of Kentucky. For complete results and more information on Arkansas track and field, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.