PHILADELPHIA – Tina Sutej, a member of the No. 11 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team, won the pole vault Friday evening at the 117th Penn Relays at historic Franklin Field in Philadelphia. The victory, in a meet-record performance, is the second straight for Sutej at the prestigious event and the Razorbacks’ sixth pole vault Penn Relays title and 14th win overall.
"I really don’t think about (setting records)," Sutej said. "I just try to jump my best and go for my PR, and if that happens to be a meet record, that’s so much better."
She entered the championship section of the pole vault at 13-3.5 and clinched the win with her mark at 14-3.25. Sutej’s winning clearance of 14-7.25 eclipses the previous Penn Relays record of 13-10.5 set by Rachel Laurent of LSU during the 2009 event. This season alone, she has set the meet records at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational (14-7.25), SEC Indoor Championships (14-10.75), Texas Relays (14-9) and Penn Relays (14-7.25).
Sutej is the first two-time Penn Relays pole vault champion and adds to Arkansas’ list of success in the event. The Razorbacks have six wins in the past nine years-April Steiner (2003), Stacie Manuel (2004), Jodi Unger (2006), Katie Stripling (2007) and Sutej (2010, ’11). The win for Sutej runs her winning streak to 11 events dating back to the start of the indoor season. Along the way, her lowest winning clearance of the year is 14-1.25 at the Razorback Spring Invitational.
"I was sitting up there watching the 10 o’clock start back up (after the rain) when coach called to tell me (the championship section) was going to start as soon as they were done," Sutej said. "Usually, you have one hour on the runway and then 30-40 minutes right before that but today, all together, was about 50 minutes so it was about half my normal warm-up. But I don’t think it made a difference."
At Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, Martine Borge turned in a second-place performance in the university section of the 800 meters. The Razorback sophomore crossed in a time of 2:08.00, knocking .09 off her previous personal best set last week. Prior to her last two races, Borge had a career-best time in the half mile of 2:10.56 run earlier this season at the Stanford Invitational.
In the first result of the day for the Razorbacks at Penn Relays, Danielle Nowell posted a personal-best clearance of 12-5.5 to finish 10th in the college section of the pole vault. Fellow freshman Megan Weller finished tied for 18th with a mark of 11-5.75. The event was interrupted by a 90-minute weather delay.
Also at Penn Relays, Rebecca Gorden finished 11th in the college division of the javelin. She had a day’s best throw of 135-2, just off her personal best of 135-11 set last week at the John McDonnell Invitational in Fayetteville. Gorden is currently ranked No. 10 in the SEC.
Competition for the Arkansas women concludes later Thursday night with Natanya Luther in the championship section of the 3,000 meters which was delayed due to inclement weather earlier in the day. The Razorbacks’ full slate at Drake gets started Friday, beginning with the preliminary rounds of the 4×100-meter relay. At the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif., races for the distance crew start Sunday. For more information and continued coverage, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.