Sandi Morris’ visit to Portland, Oregon, got a bit more interesting Saturday night.
Morris joined the rare air of the “16-Foot Club” at the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships, clearing 16 feet, 2¾ inches to win a hotly contested pole vault competition that included former Olympic champion Jenn Surr and Demi Payne at the Oregon Convention Center.
Morris set two personal bests during the event, and her winning height ranks as the third-best in the world all-time.
“It was the best competition I’ve ever had, and my most memorable,” said Morris, who starred collegiately at the University of Arkansas following a standout career at Greenville High School.
Morris battled back after missing her first two attempts at the considerably more modest height of 15-7. She cleared the bar on her third try, but missed again on her first chance at 15-11.
Morris then decided to pass twice rather than make another attempt at 5-11, and the strategic move paid off as she sought to gain confidence with a new, stiffer pole.
She proceeded to clear 16-¾, then cleared the winning height on her only remaining attempt.
The victory earned the 23-year-old Morris a spot on the USA Team for the upcoming World Championships, which begins Thursday at the same site.