FAYETTEVILLE – Senior Dacia Barr advanced in the mile for the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday night, snaring one of the automatic qualifiers in her heat and leading the charge on what amounted to be a slow day.
Barr ran to the front of her field early in the competition and had her goal of staying with the leaders from the start. She would relinquish the lead in the latter stages of the competition, but maintained her top three finish in the field of eight to earn her qualifier.
“Dacia is maturing with every race,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “She is varying her race strategy which has helped her tremendously. She may not have run her best time today, but she did what she had to do. Overall it was a good day for us. Tomorrow is where we have most of our scoring potential.”
In the 5,000 meters, junior Denise Bargiachi started a little too quickly for her own good, but hung on for a fantastic 10th-place finish on Friday evening. Bargiachi was right at her personal best when she ran 16:25.79 to claim 10th overall, her best finish at a national championship. Bargiachi began the race with second pack as the field allowed eventual champion Sally Kipyego to dictate her own pace. Slowing down in the middle stages of the competition, Bargiachi was passed by some, but a strong kick over the final few laps allowed her to move up the field.
The only other Lady Razorback competitor on the day was senior Peter-Gaye Beckford in the long jump. After a pair of fouls to open the competition, Beckford sailed to 19-8, well shy of the final nine competitors who each were well into the 20-foot mark.
The NCAA Championships continue on Saturday with Barr in the mile, Katie Stripling, Stephanie Irwin and Tara Diebold in the pole vault, Christine Kalmer in the 3,000 meters, Etienne Chaplin in the pentathlon and the quartet of Courtenay Brown, Tominque Boatright, Shelise Williams and Paige Farrell in the 4×400-meter relay.
For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.