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Manuel Claims Pole Vault Title at Penn
Stacie Manuel        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.
Jessica Johnson        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 NCAA list.
        "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 year."
Maureen Scott        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 their potential."
        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.

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