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Courtesy: Robert Black Photography
Sparkle McKnight (above) and Gwendolyn Flowers both qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 400-meter hurdles Friday.
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No. 8 Razorbacks add six qualifiers for NCAAs

Athletic Communications
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AUSTIN, Texas – The No. 8 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team added six qualifiers for the NCAA Championships on day two of the 2013 NCAA West Preliminary in Austin, Texas. The Razorbacks run their overall total to seven after two days at the national qualifying meet, collecting two entries in both the 400-meter hurdles and high jump, and one each in the 400 meters and 3,000-meter steeplechase. Friday’s competition was delayed by a rain delay that lasted more than six hours.

Setting the pace for the quarterfinal round of the 400 meters, Regina George sprinted away with the win in heat one in a school-record time of 51.00. She lowered her own school record which she previously set at 51.11. George will enter the NCAA Championships with the second-fastest time in the country. Chrishuna Williams was two spots shy of advancing to the national meet, clocking in at 53.54 and 14th overall.

In the final event of the night, Grace Heymsfield grabbed the Razorbacks’ final qualifying spot of the night with a runner-up finish in heat two of the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The Elkins, Ark., native crossed the finish line in 10:02.23 to seal her trip to the next round in Oregon. Heymsfield, the reigning SEC champion in the event, will be making her first appearance in the NCAA final with her result. Arkansas had another near miss with Shannon Klenke missing the final bid by one spot despite a personal-best 10:10.11 effort.

Three hours after the scheduled start time in the first round of the 100-meter hurdles, Ivanique Kemp and Makeba Alcide both qualified for the event’s quarterfinal round. Kemp advanced automatically with a second-place finish in heat three at 13.53, while Alcide posted a time of 13.97 in heat two that held up as an at-large qualifier. Saturday’s quarterfinal will be run at 7:05 p.m. with the top 12 moving on to Eugene.

From the hurdle event, Alcide joined teammate Kirsten Hesseltine in the preliminary round of the high jump. Both Razorbacks secured their spots in Eugene with Alcide posting a final clearance of 1.79m/5-10.5 and Hesseltine getting credit for a 1.75m/5-8.75 clearance. With Friday’s performance, Alcide is entered in the high jump and heptathlon at the national meet. This will mark Hesseltine’s first appearance at the NCAA final site.

The Razorbacks picked up two more national qualifiers with Sparkle McKnight and Gwendolyn Flowers in the 400-meter hurdles. McKnight finished the quarterfinal round as the fifth-overall qualifier with her time of 56.95, earning and automatic trip to the NCAA Championships. For the second time in as many days, Flowers established a personal best with her time of 57.88 and was the fastest at-large runner in the bubble group.

In addition to quarterfinal rounds, Saturday’s schedule will feature competition in the 5,000 meters, 4x400-meter relay and triple jump. Semehar Tesfaye, who qualified for the national meet Thursday at 10,000 meters, is also entered in the 5K event. After national qualifiers are decided, the collegiate season will come to a conclusion June 5-8 with the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Meet coverage will include live video via CBSSports.com, live results and an interactive blog beginning with running events each day. For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas cross country and track and field through the team’s sport-specific RazorbackTF Facebook and Twitter pages.

NCAA Championships Qualifiers
Makeba Alcide – High Jump
Gwendolyn Flowers – 400m Hurdles
Regina George – 400 Meters
Kirsten Hesseltine – High Jump
Grace Heymsfield – 3,000m Steeplechase
Sparkle McKnight – 400m Hurdles
Semehar Tesfaye – 10,000 Meters

Friday Results

400 Meters (quarterfinal)
2. Regina George – 51.00Q (SR – prev: 51.11)
14. Chrishuna Williams – 53.54

800 Meters (quarterfinal)
18. Martine Borge – 2:08.01

100m Hurdles (first round)
7. Ivanique Kemp – 13.53q
23. Makeba Alcide – 13.97q

400m Hurdles (quarterfinal)
5. Sparkle McKnight – 56.95Q
10. Gwendolyn Flowers – 57.88Q (PR – prev: 58.51)

3,000m Steeplechase (quarterfinal)
5. Grace Heymsfield – 10:02.23Q
13. Shannon Klenke – 10:10.11 (PR – prev: 10:13.42)
23. Jessica Kamilos – 10:25.31

High Jump (first round)
2. Makeba Alcide – 1.79m/5-10.5Q
9. Kirsten Hesseltine – 1.75m/5-8.75Q

Pole Vault (first round)
13. Danielle Nowell – 4.01m/13-1.75

Q – qualified for the NCAA Championships; q – qualified for quarterfinal round; SR – school record

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