Laughlin moves into All-American contention with record-breaking vault at last chance meet
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Junior Ashley Laughlin broke the Texas school record in winning the pole vault with a height of 13-6.25 (4.12m) at the 2007 Arkansas Last Chance Meet in Fayetteville. Senior sprinter Chauntae Bayne provisionally qualified in her fourth event, winning the 400-meter dash in 53.95.
In her series, Laughlin (Marble Falls, Texas) missed clearing one bar, on her first attempt of the day, through four heights. Laughlin was the lone competitor through the final two heights 4.02-meters and 4.12-meters, as the runner-up finished with a height of 12-8.25 (3.87m).
Laughlin's vault is the second provisional qualifying height this year and moves her into All-American contention at the national meet (top 10 in the nation).
Laughlin improved the UT school record mark of 13-5.25 (4.10m) she set at the 2007 Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships. She also has the six best UT performances ever in the pole vault. Three of those top heights have come during the 2007 season.
"Ashley's been on fire since the beginning of the year," said assistant coach Rose Brimmer, who is one of two coaches to work with the pole vault. "She came into the season very determined to qualify. She changed her training program and routine in order to get got stronger and faster in holding the pole and running down the runway. With the help of (volunteer assistant coach) Brian (Elmore), she became much sharper in her technique which made a really big difference. Ashley made up in her mind that she was going to qualify. She blocked everything out and focused on competing. She didn't let the little things get to her."
Laughlin had a little diversity to deal with in competing today as her pole vault poles never arrived, not an uncommon occurrence in the event. She borrowed implements from other competitors in order to clear her record-setting height.
"You wouldn't believe that her poles never arrived," explained Brimmer. "On her final attempt, the person that lent her poles went out and Ashley thought she had no pole. After searching for a few minutes, she found her and just continued on without missing a step.
Senior sprinter Chauntae Bayne (Saginaw, Texas) earned her fourth provisional mark of the 2007 indoor season as she won the 400-meter dash in 53.95. She bettered the 'B' mark of 54.40 and added the quarter mile to her NCAA times in the 60m, 200m and as a leg of the 4x400-meter relay.
Fellow 400 runner Jasmine Lee (Norwalk, Calif.) registered a lifetime-best in the event, rounding the track in 54.45, just five-hundredths of a second from the provisional qualifying standard.
All bids to the NCAA championships will be announced early next week. UT has four automatic qualifiers and a number of provisional marks.