AUSTIN, Texas - On day two of the 2012 NCAA West Preliminary at Mike A. Myers in Austin, Texas, the No. 13 University of Arkansas women's track and field team racked up its first national qualifiers of the weekend. The Razorbacks will be represented at the NCAA Championships by Tina Sutej in pole vault and Regina George and Whitney Jones at 400 meters. Arkansas also picked up three quarterfinal bids Friday from Tiffany Hines at 200 meters and Ivanique Kemp and Brittany Hyter in the 100-meter hurdles.
Sutej was the first national qualifier of the weekend for Arkansas. Taking just one attempt in the pole vault, the Razorback senior soared over the bar set at 4.17m/13-8.25. She passed on the first three bar heights before entering the competition. This will be Sutej's third appearance at the NCAA Championships.
The Razorbacks picked up two more national qualifiers in the 400 meters with George and Jones. Running in heat two, George built an early lead and crossed the finish in a winning time of 52.34. Jones ran the second-fastest time among the at-large group and finished 11th overall with her time of 53.09. Both were part of the NCAA field last season.
In the 100-meter hurdles, Kemp and Hyter both advanced safely into the next round. Kemp won her heat in a time of 13.25 to gain an automatic spot into the quarterfinal while Hyter was second in her heat with a time of 13.30 to move on. They finished fifth and ninth overall, respectively, among 27 qualifiers. The next round of the event is scheduled for Saturday at 7:20 p.m. (CT).
Hines, in her second race of the day, qualified for the next round in the 200 meters. Having earlier run in the first round of the 100 meters, the Razorback sophomore returned to the track to win heat six in 23.66 and secure a spot into Saturday. The quarterfinal round of the event will be run Saturday at 7:50 p.m. Hines is also part of Arkansas' 4x100-meter relay.
Arkansas' last bid to advance more runners to the national meet came in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Cali George was the team's top performer but just missed advancing by three places. The Razorback senior finished fourth in her heat with a time of 10:27.89 but finished 15th overall. Teammate Grace Heymsfield was 19th overall to round out the team's top-20 showings.
Despite not advancing to the national meet, pair of Razorback sophomores turned in personal-best performances Friday. In the pole vault, Danielle Nowell established a career-best clearance of 4.07m/13-4.25. During the preliminary round of the high jump, Kirsten Hesseltine set a personal best by clearing the bar set at 1.76m/5-9.25.
The Razorbacks close out the 2012 NCAA West Preliminary on Saturday with quarterfinal competition in the 200 meters, 1,500 meters and 100-meter hurdles. National spots will also be up for grabs in the 5,000 meters, 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays. For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
18. Tiffany Hines - 11.60
6. Tiffany Hines - 23.66q
2. Regina George - 52.34Q
11. Whitney Jones - 53.09Q
20. Gwendolyn Flowers - 54.02
22. Martine Borge - 2:10.40
5. Ivanique Kemp - 13.25q
9. Brittany Hyter - 13.30q
--. Brittany Hyter - DNF
15. Cali George - 10:27.89
19. Grace Heymsfield - 10:33.07
31. Shannon Klenke - 10:47.89
16. Kirsten Hesseltine - 1.76m/5-9.25
23. Makeba Alcide - 1.71m/5-7.25
1. Tina Sutej - 4.17m/13-8.25Q
15. Danielle Nowell - 4.07m/13-4.25
--. Tara Diebold - NH
Q - qualified for NCAA Championships || q - qualified for quarterfinal round