– Semehar Tesfaye
put a cap on Thursday’s action at the 2013 NCAA West Preliminary with a national-qualifying run at 10,000 meters while the No. 8 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team also placed seven of its runners into the quarterfinal round of the national qualifying event. Highlights included an NCAA-leading performance by Regina George
at 400 meters and a pair of personal-best showings by Gwendolyn Flowers
and Chrishuna Williams
Tesfaye finished in seventh place at 10,000 meters with a time of 35:03.05 to secure her place at the national meet in Eugene, Ore. The Razorback senior entered the meet as the No. 14 seed in the event after her runner-up finish two weeks ago at the SEC Championships in Columbia, Mo. This will be the second NCAA appearance for Tesfaye who previously qualified in 2010 when she was enrolled at Iowa State.
“I have run here before so I had confidence that I could handle the heat,” Tesfaye said of running at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. “I was ranked 14th so I knew I just had to beat a couple of people and I knew I was strong. The beginning of the race was too slow and it wasn’t helping me at all. I knew I had to run my own comfortable pace. That’s why I went into the lead early. It was the best way for me to finish strong.”
In the team’s first event of the day, Sparkle McKnight
and Flowers advanced to the quarterfinal round of the 400-meter hurdles with their first-round efforts. The Razorback duo finished 1-2 in heat two with McKnight taking the tape in 57.75, while Flowers followed with a personal-best time of 58.51. At the end of six heats, the two had the fourth- and ninth-fastest times overall. Friday’s quarterfinal will be run at 7:30 p.m. (CT).
The Razorbacks added two more quarterfinalists with Stephanie Brown
and Keri Wood
in the 1,500 meters. Brown earned an automatic spot in the next round with her win in heat four, crossing the finish line in 4:22.22. She was the third overall qualifier, while Wood grabbed the final at-large spot with her time of 4:25.26. She finished seventh in heat one but her time was only surpassed by two other at-large performers. Saturday’s quarterfinal will be run at 6:30 p.m.
George and Williams each won their respective heats at 400 meters to qualify for Friday’s quarterfinal round. Running in heat two, George posted an NCAA-leading time of 51.27 to secure her spot in the next round. The time is also a season best for the Razorback senior and the fourth fastest in school history. Williams won heat five in a personal-best time of 53.21 to advance. Friday’s quarterfinal will be run at 6 p.m.
Arkansas’ final quarterfinalist on day one of the preliminary meet was Martine Borge
who clinched a spot in the next round with a third-place finish in heat one of the 800 meters. She posted a time of 2:08.19, good for 17th place overall in the event’s first round. Friday’s quarterfinal will be run at 7 p.m.
In addition to quarterfinal heats Friday, the second day of competition at the NCAA West Preliminary will feature qualifying action in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, high jump and pole vault. First-round competition in the 100-meter hurdles will also begin. The 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships will be held June 5-8 at Hayward Field 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.Thursday Results
400 Meters (first round)
1. Regina George
6. Chrishuna Williams
– 53.21q (PR – prev: 53.79)
800 Meters (first round)
17. Martine Borge
1,500 Meters (first round)
3. Stephanie Brown
24. Keri Wood
10,000 Meters (semifinal)
7. Semehar Tesfaye
400m Hurdles (first round)
4. Sparkle McKnight
9. Gwendolyn Flowers
– 58.51q (PR – prev: 58.74)
Q – qualified for NCAA Championships; q – qualified for quarterfinal round; PR – personal best