FAYETTEVILLE – Senior Dacia Barr wrapped up her indoor track career on Saturday night for the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team with a fourth-place finish in the mile at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships atthe Randal Tyson Track Centeron Saturday evening.
Arkansas’ middle distance expert was smart tactically and stayed out of trouble on way to her best finish at a NCAA Championship. Running on the line between lanes one and two throughout the opening 800 meters of the race, Barr found herself shoulder to shoulder with Florida State’s Hannah England and in fourth position. The pace picked up over the final half of the competition and the top five runners, which included Barr, began to open a gap with the rest of the 10-person field.
With 400 meters left in the competition, Barr began to fall off the pace of the top three milers, but came storming back to pass Wisconsin’s Ann Detmer and move to her final position of fourth.
“We had some great moments this weekend,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “Dacia in the mile and the 4×400-meter relay were the high points. Dacia is well ahead of her pace from last year where she ran 4:45 indoors and then went 4:14 outside for 1,500 meters. The 4×4 also really came through tonight. Those were some great relays and the girls stepped up and ran a season best. I am very proud of everyone for their achievements throughout the indoor season.”
Arkansas’ 4×400-meter relay looked great from the start as Courtenay Brown, Tominque Boatright, Shelise Williams and Paige Farrell ran the third fastest time in Arkansas history when they clocked out at 3:34.66. Brown started the Lady’Backs off with a solid 54 second leg out of the blocks and had Arkansas solidly in second place behind Penn State who came in with one of the nation’s fastest times. Handing off to Boatright, Arkansas fans watched the senior quickly make up the deficit in front of her and draft off a larger Penn State runner. Boatright’s 52 second split kept Arkansas in second and let the lone freshman of the group, Williams, once again strut her stuff with another 52 second split. Farrell anchored the team to the finish and looked as if she were going to pass Penn State around the final curve, but came up just short in her bid.
The Lady Razorback pole vaulters faced perhaps the toughest NCAA championships field ever and came away with 12th, 13th and 14th-place finishes. Senior Stephanie Irwin and freshman Tara Diebold were two of 13 competitors to clear 13-5, a height that normally places among the top five, but in 2008 was good for an eighth-place tie. Due to misses at earlier heights, Irwin would grab 12th, just ahead of Diebold’s 13th. Katie Stripling finished 14th.
Arkansas’ final competitor in the field was junior Christine Kalmer who ran 9:30.55 in the 3,000-meter run to take 11th.
Arkansas took a blow from a points perspective when senior Etienne Chaplin was forced to pull out of the pentathlon competition due to an injury. Chaplin entered the meet as the fifth-ranked pentathlete and if she could have maintained that position could have earned as many as four points to Arkansas’ team score.
The Lady Razorbacks don’t get much rest as they open the outdoor season next weekend at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.