Ally Beneke will forever be known as the first Lady Pioneer to claim an individual state title. The impressive high jumper put herself in the local record books last May, winning at the TSSAA Spring Fling.
Beneke was able to push through the rain at the event to clear 5-foot-6, a mark only she was able to get over in Murfreesboro while competing with 15 athletes. It helped her step on the podium for the second time in her career, only this time she went to the very top. Beneke finished fifth in 2021 as a sophomore.
Beneke is just the second Warren County High School athlete to win an individual state championship in school history. She joins Scott Haile (golf, 1980-81) on the short list of athletes to get to the top of the podium for Warren County while becoming the first Lady Pioneer to do it.
“It was awesome. After she missed her first try at 5-foot-6, she really put a ton of energy into that next jump,” said Todd Willmore, who helped with the track team last year and was at the event. “Once she had it, I think it put a lot of pressure on her competitor. We’re very proud of Ally – it’s an awesome accomplishment.”
Beneke tried to clear 5-foot-8 at the event to further her impressive victory and set the school record, but she barely missed on her final tries. Beneke is still the school record holder in the high jump, having cleared 5-foot-7 in an event at Cookeville last season. Before Beneke set the mark in 2021 – then moved it up to another height last year – the high jump record had stood locally for over 20 years.
The championship came just a few months after coach Patty Kelly, Beneke’s mentor from the moment she arrived in Tennessee, passed away. In one of Kelly’s final interviews about WCHS track, she noted that Beneke was surging and mentioned, “I can see her getting a PR (Personal Record) of 5-foot-6 this year no doubt.”
It proved to be the exact height Beneke cleared to win her first state championship.
Beneke will get another chance at stardom this spring as she will be looking to go back-to-back in the state tournament.