DES MOINES, Iowa - On day one of the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, the No. 12 University of Arkansas women's track and field team scored three points from a sixth-place finish by Tina Sutej in the pole vault. In semifinal action, Regina George broke the school record in the 400 meters in qualifying for the event final.
In the first scoring opportunity of the meet for Arkansas, Sutej finished in sixth place in the pole vault to score three points in the team race. The Razorback senior began the competition with first-attempt clearances at her first two heights and finished with a final mark of 4.25m/13-11.25. Sutej closes out her collegiate career as a two-time NCAA indoor champion and five-time Southeastern Conference champion.
Running in heat two of the semifinal round, George took the early lead through the first 300 meters of the race and crossed the finish line in a school-record time of 51.57. She finished second in her heat and fifth overall to advance to finals of the 400 meters. Also in heat two, Whitney Jones finished fifth with a time of 52.98 but will not move on to the finals. Both will return to the track Thursday for the semifinal of the 4x400-meter relay.
"I took the race out hard," George said. "It felt pretty good and it helps to make it into the final, right? This year, the 400 (meters) is so fast. You can't really get upset about getting second in the prelims. I didn't even know I had the school record until just now. Now I'm really excited. I've been working really hard to get that record this year and I did it at nationals. I can't ask for anything better."
George established the new school record with her performance, surpassing the previous mark of 51.71 set by former teammate Shelise Williams in 2010. George has now run three of the four fastest times in school history. The event final of the 400 meters will be contested Friday at 7:02 p.m. (CT).
In the team's first event of the day, the 4x100-meter relay team of George, Jones, Gwendolyn Flowers and Tiffany Hines combined for a time of 44.04 to finish fourth in heat three. Overall, Arkansas finished 10th in the semifinal round and did not advance, missing the finals by just two spots. Their time of 44.04 was just off their season-best performance of 44.01. It was the first of two races Wednesday for George and Jones.
Competition at the NCAA Championships continues Thursday with day one of the heptathlon for Makeba Alcide and semifinal action at 200 meters for Tiffany Hines, 1,500 meters for Kristen Gillespie, 100-meter hurdles for Brittany Hyter and Ivanique Kemp and in the 4x400-meter relay. For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
4x100m Relay (semifinal)
10. Flowers/George/Hines/Jones - 44.04
6. Tina Sutej - 4.25m/13-11.25 [3 points]
Q - qualified for event final; SR - school record