Class: 2022 | Category: Athlete | Alma Mater: Penn Hills, 1989 | Sport: Track & Field
Long jump pits around Western Pennsylvania couldn’t contain Bentley in the 1980s when he was winning meets and breaking records. In fact, a few WPIAL schools had to lengthen theirs just for him. But Bentley wasn’t merely the best long jumper in the state. He was arguably the best in the country. He set not only WPIAL and PIAA records, but also a national high school record that stood for 20 years. His jumps were must-see moments during his final two seasons at Penn Hills in 1988-89. As a 6-foot-4, 190-pound senior, Bentley was named Track & Field News High School Athlete of the Year in 1989. That same year, he set the national high school record with a long jump of 26 feet, 9½ inches at the Junior Pan Am Games in Sante Fe, Argentina. His jump broke a record set by future Olympian Carl Lewis in 1979. Bentley’s record stood until 2009. He went on to set school records at the University of Florida in both indoor (26-8¼) and outdoor seasons (27-6½). His outdoor school record, set during a second-place finish at the 1993 NCAA Championships, hasn’t been broken. Nationally, his best long jump distance still ranks 11th best outdoors in NCAA Division I history, according to USTFCCCA stats. In high school, Bentley was a four-time WPIAL champion, winning the long jump three consecutive seasons (1987, 1988, 1989) and the 110-meter hurdles once (1989). He was the PIAA long jump runner-up as a sophomore before winning the title twice (1988, 1989). As a junior, he set a PIAA championship meet record (25-5¼) that stands today as the state’s best. In his senior season, he set a national indoor record of 26 feet, 6½ inches during a meet at Penn State. Bentley was named the Gatorade National Track & Field Athlete of the Year in 1989.