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Morris Breaks NCAA Pole Vaulting Record

BY ANDRES FOCIL

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 3 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team closed out this weekend’s John McDonnell Invitational with eight wins including an NCAA-record performance from Sandi Morris in the pole vault. Morris finished the night with a final clearance of 4.62m/15-1.75 to eclipse the previous record held by former Arkansas standout Tina Sutej. Collectively, the Razorbacks also posted 11 personal bests during Saturday’s competition.

With her performance Saturday, Morris becomes just the fourth collegian to clear 15 feet outdoors and the first to do so since Sutej set her mark at the 2011 SEC Outdoor Championships in Athens, Ga. Morris has now won seven consecutive meets dating back to the indoor season in which she won the NCAA title. This is her second-straight weekend to go after the collegiate record with three attempts last weekend at the Stanford Invitational.

Taylor Ellis-Watson was a three-time winner Saturday with first-place efforts at 200 and 400 meters and with the 4×400-meter relay team. In her first race, she crossed the line in 52.31 to lead a 1-3-4 finish for the Razorbacks at 400 meters which included a personal best for Daina Harper in third place. Ellis-Watson returned to the track to clock a 22.93 effort at 200 meters for the No. 2 time in the country based on times entering the weekend.

The Razorbacks swept the relay titles including a season-best time of 45.36 by the 4×100-meter relay team of Harper, Shekara Boakye, Regine Williams and Brianna Swinton. In its customary closing position, the 4×400-meter relay team of Ellis-Watson, Harper, Swinton and Williams combined for a time of 3:38.15. Arkansas finished ahead of Minnesota in both races. Williams collected an individual win Saturday with a time of 11.46 to win at 100 meters.

Arkansas also swept the hurdle events with victories by Taliyah Brooks in the 100-meter hurdles and Sparkle McKnight in the 400-meter hurdles. Having qualified earlier in the day with the second-fastest time in the prelims, Brooks registered a personal-best time of 13.25 to lead a 1-2 finish for Arkansas, followed by fellow heptathlete Alex Gochenour (13.36). In the 400-meter hurdles, McKnight posted a time of 57.96 to secure the win.

Arkansas’ next schedule home event is April 15-16 with the Razorback Combined with members of the middle distance and distance crews hitting the road April 16-18 for the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. The remainder of the home slate also features the Arkansas Twilight on May 1. For tickets to home events, call 800-982-4647, email raztk@uark.edu or visit the Razorback Ticket Center just east of Baum Stadium.

John McDonnell Invitational, Day 2
John McDonnell Field | Fayetteville, Ark.

100 Meters
1. Regine Williams – 11.46w (+3.0)
7. Shekara Boakye – 11.79w (+2.3)
16. Kaylee McCarthy – 12.46w (+2.3)

200 Meters
1. Taylor Ellis-Watson – 22.93 (+1.2) [PR – previous: 23.58]
5. Regine Williams – 23.75 (+1.2)
7. Daina Harper – 24.01w (+3.4)
10. Taliyah Brooks – 24.29 (+1.9) [PR – previous: 25.43]

400 Meters
1. Taylor Ellis-Watson – 52.31
3. Daina Harper – 53.23 [PR – previous: 53.54]
4. Chrishuna Williams – 53.68

800 Meters
2. Rebekka Simko – 2:06.24 [PR – previous: 2:09.51]
5. Therese Haiss – 2:10.04
7. Victoria Feole – 2:10.72 [PR – previous: 2:10.88]

1,500 Meters
18. Annika Sisson – 4:38.49
31. Kara Kalisz – 5:00.89

3,000 Meters
2. Valerie Reina – 9:55.85 [PR – previous: 9:57.19]
5. Logan Bishop – 10:41.09

100m Hurdles (final)
1. Taliyah Brooks – 13.25 (+0.7) [PR – previous: 13.80]
2. Alex Gochenour – 13.36 (+0.7)

100m Hurdles (prelim)
2. Taliyah Brooks – 13.56W (+4.5)
3. Alex Gochenour – 13.73w (+3.0)
10. Leigha Brown – 14.38w (+3.0)

400m Hurdles
1. Sparkle McKnight – 57.96
2. Brianna Swinton – 1:00.47 [PR – previous: 1:00.95]

3,000m Steeplechase
–. Chandler Crumblish – DNF

4x100m Relay
1. Boakye/ R. Williams/Harper/Swinton – 45.36

4x400m Relay
1. R. Williams/Harper/Swinton/Ellis-Watson – 3:38.15

Pole Vault
1. Sandi Morris – 4.62m/15-1.75 [CR – previous: 15-1.5, Tina Sutej (Arkansas)]
3. Desiree Freier – 4.20m/13-9.25
4. Ariel Voskamp – 4.05m/13-3.5
15. Megan Zimlich – 3.70m/12-1.5
17. Ariel Lachance – 3.70m/12-1.5 [PR – previous: 11-7.75]
–. Stephanie Diettinger – NH

Triple Jump
6. Aatiyah Henry – 11.67m/38-3.5w (+2.2)

Shot Put
9. Taliyah Brooks – 11.72m/38-5.5 [PR – previous: 34-10.25]

Javelin
2. Amethyst Boyd – 45.83m/150-4
8. Alex Gochenour – 34.82m/114-3
9. Leigha Brown – 33.12m/108-8

For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.