Greenville’s Sandi Morris cleared 14 feet, 11 inches (4.55 meters) on her third and final attempt Monday to advance to the finals of the women’s pole vault at the 15th Annual IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.
Morris, a graduate of Greenville High School and the University of Arkansas, was one of 14 vaulters to advance to Wednesday’s final at Beijing’s National Stadium.
Jenn Suhr of Fredonia, N.Y., was the only other American to qualify for the finals. Suhr, 33, is the reigning Olympic champion, a 15-time U.S. champion, and has been the No. 1-ranked women’s pole vaulter in the world for the last two years.
Morris, 23, is coming off a strong final season at Arkansas. She broke the NCAA and school indoor record last January, then won the NCAA Indoor title in March.
In May she broke the NCAA Outdoor record with a vault of 15 feet, 5¾ inches at the Southeastern Conference Championships, then in June placed second behind Demi Payne of Stephen F. Austin at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Oregon.
Payne failed to clear the finals qualifying height Monday in Beijing.
Morris won two state titles while competing at Greenville High and as a senior set a state record of 12 feet, 7 inches that still stands.