Council Rock South's Worthen is 2d in girls' pole vault

Victoria Worthen of Council Rock South competes at Franklin Field. Mandissa Marshall of Mountaintop, Pa., won the event.
Victoria Worthen of Council Rock South competes at Franklin Field. Mandissa Marshall of Mountaintop, Pa., won the event.
Posted: April 24, 2009

It wasn't merely a pole-vault competition. It was more like a prize fight.

Council Rock South's Tory Worthen cleared the bar, and the Franklin Field crowd applauded. Crestwood's Mandissa Marshall fought back with her own successful vault, and the fans howled.

Yesterday's high school portion of the 115th annual Penn Relays Carnival was seized by two athletes as flexible as their poles, fighting for a gold watch and a place in history.

Marshall was crowned the winner of the high school girls' pole vault.

Both athletes cleared 12 feet, 11/2 inches. The senior from Mountain Top, Pa., was declared the winner because she cleared the opening height (11-13/4) on fewer attempts. Worthen placed second in the event for the second straight year.

"I didn't really have a big expectation," said Worthen, who was competing in her second meet after suffering a right knee injury. "I wanted to make opening height."

After the Princeton recruit cleared the opening height on her third attempt, it was hard to determine who was going to win.

Together, they went on to clear 11-93/4 on their second attempts. Then they were the only athletes to clear 12-11/2.

Taking pictures and joking afterward, Worthen was far from disappointed. Just contending for the title was enough for her.

The senior twisted and bruised her right knee at the Nike Indoor Nationals on March 14. She spent the following week in a wheelchair. Still in a lot of pain, Worthen hobbled for the next two weeks.

She was held out of vaulting until April 15. Her first competition of the outdoor season was Saturday's Central Buck West Relays.

"Was she depressed? She was . . . depressed," said C.R. South assistant Ken Worthen, who is Tory's father. "She had goals for indoor that she didn't quite achieve. And this is what she does."

Back in her comfort zone, Worthen brightened up yesterday.

The Abington girls' team also had a lot to celebrate.

Sophomore Leah Nugent placed third in the 400-meter hurdles with a personal-best time of 60.05 seconds.

Nugent joined Jordan Matthews and sophomores Nicole Grasty and Jenny Ryan in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

The Ghosts posted the eighth-fastest time among large schools of 48.43 seconds in the 4x100, qualifying for today's 2:38 p.m. consolation race. The Ghosts' time also advanced them to tomorrow's 1:30 p.m. tristate race.

The foursome came back to win the Suburban One National 4x400 race in 3 minutes, 52.66 seconds. It was the top qualifying time for tomorrow's 5:05 p.m. Philadelphia-area race.


Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029 or kpompey@phillynews.com.

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