GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- VFL and Tennessee track & field great Jake Blankenship earned his first win as a professional on Friday, taking first place in the men's pole vault at the Gothenburg Athletics Grand Prix at Slottsskogsvallen in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Blankenship, who signed with Nike prior to the U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials earlier this month, won with a height of 5.53 meters (18-1.75). He cleared 5.53 meters on his second try. On Wednesday, Blankenship finished second in the men's pole vault at a meet in Liège, Belgium, by clearing 5.50 meters (18-0.50).
Blankenship finished seventh at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials on July 4 with a height of 5.60 meters (18-4.50). He enjoyed outstanding 2016 senior year with the Vols. After notching the top mark of the NCAA indoor season at 5.72 meters (18-9.25), Blankenship battled back from injury to win the NCAA men's outdoor pole vault title, clearing 5.60 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships to become Tennessee's first men's outdoor national champion since VFL Aries Merritt won the 110-meter hurdles in 13.21 in 2006. Blankenship was also the first Vol to win the men's outdoor pole vault since Lawrence Johnson won the title in 1996 with an NCAA record 5.81 meters (19-1.00).