SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Junior Dacia Barr moved on at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 1,500-meter run when she finished an easy third in her heat to qualify for the event finals on Saturday in Sacramento, Calif.
Barr’s journey to the finals was workman like as she set herself up early and moved with the field, never moving outside the top four. Loose, but confident before and after the competition, Barr’s time of 4:17.20 is stellar by most accounts but has become the norm for the Austin, Texas, native who has posted five times this spring under 4:18.00.
“We learned from last night,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “Last night in the 5,000, the first heat went out slow and then the second heat just ran to beat the first. Fortunately for Dacia she was in the second heat tonight and could do just that.”
Overall, Barr clocked the third fastest time of the prelims, coincidentally matching her national ranking entering the meet. She sits behind Florida State’s Susan Kuijken and Stanford’s Arianna Lambie who finished 1-2 in Barr’s heat with times of 4:15.68 and 4:16.04, respectively.
Etienne Chaplin’s quest to score in the heptathlon hit a small bump in the opening race, but a concerted effort over the final three events moved her up 10 spots and into a position where scoring was not out of reality. Chaplin’s day began with the 100-meter hurdles and the Chicago, Ill., native put together a solid race at 14.27, but was well shy of her season best which is where she needed to be to challenge for a top spot.
The potential setback didn’t stop Chaplin from excelling the rest of the day as she matched her high jump personal best, then set all-time marks in both the shot put and 200 meters to finish the day with 3,348 points, nearly 100 more than her previous best. Her high jump of 5-4 ¼ matched her effort from the Southeastern Conference Championships, then a shot put of 41-3 ¼ and a 200-meter run of 24.47 moved her from 21st overall to 13th. Chaplin’s shot put was the first time she exceeded the 40-foot mark in her career and placed her fourth among all heptathletes at the championship.
In both shocking and disappointing news, Arkansas’ 4×400-meter relay, who finished third at the NCAA meet a year ago and returned all four runners, failed to make the finals in 2007. The foursome of Paige Farrell, Tominque Boatright, Sasha Rolle and Jessica Cousins ran in the third of four heats in the prelims of the race and clocked 3:33.39 to take third in their heat behind Texas and Texas A&M. The Lady Razorbacks didn’t get a great start and attempted to play catch up the entire race, but in the end came up just short and in ninth place, one spot out of the event finals, and a half second behind Texas A&M who nabbed the last timed qualifier at 3:32.72.
In her first NCAA 10,000-meter run, sophomore Denise Bargiachi looked strong through the opening 7,000 meters but faded a little down the stretch to finish 22nd in the competition with a time of 35:13.64. Bargiachi let the leaders go and stayed with the second pack for most of the competition hovering between 15th and 19th for a good portion of the race. In fact for five of six laps mid way through she moved up on the field.
After a late start, Arkansas’ pair of javelin throwers struggled under the lights of the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex. Carly Bloomfield and Peter-Gaye Beckford finished 25th and 27th respectively with throws well short of their season bests. Bloomfield was credited at 140-6 while Beckford threw 139-7.
In the 200-meter dash, senior LaKeisha Martin ended her Lady Razorback career with her first NCAA Championships race when she clocked 23.91. Martin looked strong out of the blocks and quickly made up the stagger from her position in the middle of the track. Coming off the turn her competition would catch up and pass Martin who still ran one of the fastest times of her career.
The NCAA Championships continue on Friday with the Lady Razorbacks participating in the conclusion of the heptathlon, 400-meter semifinals and pole vault finals. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.