LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Illinois women’s track and field team began the first day of competition at the Rod McCravy Memorial Meet with some strong performances. Most notable of the performances were those of Stephanie Richartz and Jennifer DeBellis in the pole vault. Richartz broke her own school record in the event, while DeBellis upped her personal best.
In a field full of high-caliber vaulters, Richartz held her own, finishing fifth overall and third among collegiate competitors. Richartz best clearance of the day came at 4.33m (14’ 2.50”), bettering her school-record mark by .08m (3.25”). Richartz mark also surpassed the previous meet record of 4.31m (14’ 1.75”), set at last season’s event.
DeBellis also had a good day, as her best vault resulted in a height of 4.03m (13’ 2.50”), good for sixth among collegiate athletes and eighth place overall. Her mark betters the personal-best performance of 4.00m (13’ 1.5”) she set at last weekend’s Illini Classic, which was the second-best mark in school history.
“Stephanie and Jenn are both putting in the work,” stated pole vault coach Bryan Carrel. “They are committed to the little things and they are training hard. Those things add up each week.”
“With Stephanie coming off a weird year last season, this progress with her has been unbelievable. Jenn came into this year really fit, after struggling with a knee problem last season. The fact that she is healthy has led to the ability to make these progressions.”
Other Illini who had strong performances on the first day of competition were Samone Thompson and Kandie Bloch-Jones. Thompson finished sixth in the 600 yard run, while Bloch-Jones took eighth in the high jump.
Illinois will be back at it tomorrow for the second day of competition at the Rod McCravy Memorial Meet. Action resumes at 12 p.m. ET in Nutter Field House.
– ILLINI –
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