FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Coming off its first NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship victory, the Arkansas women’s track and field team is set to resume competition sending four young Razorbacks — Damajahnee Birch, Devin Clark, Rachel Nichwitz and Ceara Watson — to the 2016 USATF Junior Championship this weekend in Clovis, California.
USATF Junior Championship
Veteran’s Memorial Stadium
Buchanan High School
What’s At Stake
The top two finishers in each event will be given the opportunity to represent the USA National Team at the 2016 IAAF U20 World Championship July 19-24 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Damajahnee Birch – 400H | PR: 56.46
A product of Denver, Colorado, Birch was quick to ascend the ranks of the NCAA’s most dominant intermediate hurdlers during her first year as a Razorback.
Racing to new personal best times on almost every new attempt at the event, Birch climbed to No. 2 on Arkansas’ all-time best list with a PR of 56.46 (insert where). She was one of only two freshmen to qualify for the semifinal round of the 400 hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championship and capped the year as the 17th best collegian – the highest-finishing underclassman in the field of 24.
Devin Clark – 3,000 Steeplechase | PR: 9:49.25
A gifted distance runner, Clark excelled as soon as she set foot on the track. During her first cross country season, the freshman finished as the second Razorback at the NCAA Cross Country Championships and crossed the line just out of earning All-American status.
Transitioning to the track, Clark helped lead the distance medley relay team to an SEC title and reach the All-American status at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the event. Clark then proceeded to break the American junior record after running the 3,000-meter steeplechase for just the second time in her life at the SEC Championships. She followed it up with a PR of 9:49.25 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships finishing as the fifth-best collegian in the nation for the steeple.
Rachel Nichwitz – 3,000 Steeplechase | PR: 10:44.65
Hailing from Fishers, Indiana, Nichwitz was a standout in the distance events in high school. Nichwitz was a 13-time All-State competitor in cross country as well as track and field. In 2013, Nichwitz was a finalist for the Foot Locker Nationals and a state runner-up in the 1600 and 4-x-800 meter relay in 2014.
Ceara Watson – 400 | PR: 53.61 / 800 | PR: 2:06.87
Watson showed steady improvement throughout the season improving her times seemingly every time she stepped out on the track. As a freshman, Watson dropped her PR in the 400 almost four seconds from the indoor to outdoor season going from 57.38 to 53.61. Even more impressive was Watson’s ability to shed a near seven seconds from her 800 time starting with a 2:13.17 in the indoor season to 2:06.87 in the outdoor season and qualifying for the NCAA West Prelims.
Friday, June 24
7:55 p.m. | 800 (1st Round) – Ceara Watson
8:45 p.m. | 400H (1st Round) – Damajahnee Birch
Saturday, June 25
7:20 p.m. | 400 (1st Round) – Ceara Watson
9:25 p.m. | 400H (finals) – Damajahnee Birch
10:00 p.m. | 800 (finals) – Ceara Watson
10:45 p.m. | Steeplechase (finals) – Devin Clark, Rachel Nichwitz
Sunday, June 26
8:45 p.m. | 400 (finals) – Ceara Watson
Italicized events require qualification.
Razorback fans will be available to follow all of the action live at usatf.tv. Coverage is set to start on Friday at 5:30 p.m. CST, Saturday at 5:15 p.m. and on Sunday at 9 a.m.
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.