FAYETTEVILLE – They competed in very different locations, but the result was the same for Denise Bargiachi and Michelle Rossio of the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team as the pair qualified for post season competition.
Bargiachi became Arkansas’ first 10,000-meter qualifier of the season at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif., while Rossio put together a regional qualifier in the shot put at the Missouri Southern Track & Field Festival in Joplin, Mo.
“We knew that Denise had the potential to run this kind of time,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “We were a bit skeptical about whether she could do it this weekend since she is recovering from strep throat. I am very proud of not only her but all the 10,000-meter runners who raced very well tonight. I feel good about the times we ran, but we’ll have to see what happens the rest of the season.”
Racing in the second section of the 10,000 meters, Bargiachi and teammates Jennifer Harper and Beth Fahey got off to solid starts but it was Bargiachi’s race from the outset. Setting up with the leaders, she pounded out the 25-lap race, outlasting all competitors for the event win in a career best 33:53.61. Her time is a NCAA provisional qualifier and sets her up nicely for the NCAA Championships in June.
Looking at the 2006 results, Bargiachi’s time would have ranked 19th in the nation and earned her a spot at the NCAA meet. She is also one of the first women to qualify in the 10,000 meters this season.
While Bargiachi grabbed the headlines with her performance, Harper and Fahey also raced extremely well, setting personal bests with their efforts. Harper’s time of 35:16.57 was an improvement of more than a minute to her previous best while Fahey dropped her time by more than 40 seconds with her finish of 35:39.09.
Over in Joplin, Rossio continues to gain confidence and strength as she posted her second regional mark in the shot put. Tossing the ball 47 feet, 10 inches, she was one inch off her personal best 47-11 which she set just last week at the Jim Click Shoot-Out. Rossio’s mark placed her second in the competition just off the winner’s toss.
Also in the hammer competition, Rossio’s throw of 164-6 placed third overall and again just missed her personal best which she set a week ago. Joining Rossio in both competitions was redshirt freshman Angie Scott who donned the Arkansas cardinal and white for the first time. Scott recorded personal bests in both the shot and hammer, taking ninth place in each competition with marks of 38-7 ¾ in the shot and 140-10 in the hammer.
The Lady Razorbacks continue to compete at Stanford through the weekend with big races in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters scheduled. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.