FAYETTEVILLE — April Steiner Bennett, Arkansas’ first female All-American pole vaulter in 2001, is still competing at a high level.
Bennett, 36, is entered in the pole vault qualifying Friday at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials along with former Razorback Sandi Morris and Arkansas freshman Lexi Weeks.
Bennett is trying to make her second Olympic team. She finished eighth at the 2008 Olympics after placing second at the U.S. trials.
“Don’t count April out,” said Arkansas assistant Bryan Compton, who has coached the pole vaulters since 1998. “She’s a great competitor.
“She wasn’t supposed to make the Olympic team in 2008 and she got the job done then. She’s been doing this a long time and knows what it takes.”
Bennett has trained in Fayetteville off and on the last several years, but recently moved to Idaho with her husband, Cameron Bennett, a former Arizona State pole vaulter.
Bennett cleared a career-best of 15 feet, 2 inches in 2008. Her best mark this year is 14-9 1/4.
“April’s jumping well right now,” Compton said. “As long as she’s healthy and confident, she can squeak in there and be in the top three to make the U.S. team.”
Bennett was a four-time All-American at Arkansas from 2001 through 2003 — three times indoors and once outdoors — after transferring from Paradise Valley Community College in Arizona. She became the first of several All-Americans coached by Compton.
Morris won the NCAA outdoor title in 2015 as a senior and Weeks won NCAA indoor and outdoor titles this year.
“We’ve worked hard to keep this train going, and it all started with April,” Compton said. “Since she first came here and was an All-American, we’ve always had somebody picked up the stick and carry on the Razorback pole vault tradition.”