SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Senior Dacia Barr and the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback 4×400-meter relay team solidified their season best marks for the 2008 NCAA Indoor Track Championships when they posted impressive times at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind., on Saturday.
Barr posted Arkansas’ fourth NCAA automatic qualifier of the season, this one in the mile when she ran a career best 4:39.07 to win the Notre Dame hosted competition. Barr was a finalist at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 1,500 meters and her previous season and career best of 4:42.74 was on the outside looking in to the NCAA field. Her 4:39.07 mark not only ranks her 10th in the nation this season but also places her fourth on Arkansas’ all-time list of milers behind former Lady’Backs Christin Wurth, Londa Bevins and Trine Pilskog.
“What a weekend,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “We picked up a qualifier in the pole vault on Friday night and potentially two more here at Notre Dame. I am pleased with the way we got the job done this weekend, now we turn our attention to the NCAA Championships.”
Arkansas’ 4×400-meter relay may have also earned its way to the NCAA Championships by way of a fantastic time. Using a new lineup, the Lady’Backs posted a two-second season best in the relay and moved up to fifth in the nation in the event. All four Lady Razorback runners ran split times under 54 seconds and clocked Arkansas’ fifth-best time in school history at 3:35.10. The quartet of Courtenay Brown, Tominque Boatright, Shelise Williams and Paige Farrell were right behind Western Michigan in South Bend and have just the Broncos, LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M ahead of them on the national descending order list.
The inclusion of Arkansas’ weekend marks gives it four NCAA automatic qualifiers in Barr, Peter-Gaye Beckford (long jump), Etienne Chaplin (pentathlon) and Christine Kalmer (3,000 meters). Harter and his staff feel confident that the NCAA will select as many as four additional marks and times for the national meet including the 4×400-meter relay, Katie Stripling (pole vault), Stephanie Irwin (pole vault) and Makeatha Cooper (60-meter hurdles).
For the Lady Razorbacks awaiting a selection, the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Committee meets on Monday to finalize the list of NCAA participants and will release those invitations Monday evening. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.