FAYETTEVILLE – Senior Dacia Barr led the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team on the first day of the Tyson Invitational with a career best and NCAA provisional qualifier in the mile at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.
Barr and freshman Jillian Rosen each ran provisional times in the race, finishing second and fourth overall in the Olympic development section of the competition. Barr’s game plan had her running in the middle of the pack through the opening 800 meters of the race before making her way to the leaders. Barr’s final 50 meters moved her from fourth to second. Rosen’s tactics had her near the back of the pack where she was boxed in for a good portion of the race. After moving to the outside, Rosen moved quickly up the field showing what is becoming a signature kick.
“That was a great mile,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “Both Dacia and Jillian ran fast enough today to make the national championship. We were hoping that Dacia would get a qualifier, but Jillian’s time was a real surprise. Overall, we had a good day today as a team. We got improvements in the 400 meters and consistency with Makeatha Cooper in the hurdles and Janine Davis in the 800.”
Shelise Williams started the Lady Razorbacks off with an excellent first leg of their 4×400 meter relay as they fought to compete in a field containing five of the top teams in the country. Boxed-in behind LSU and Penn State, Williams handed off to senior Tominique Boatright. Janine Davis ran the third leg with Courtney Brown anchoring. Brown bettered her personal record earlier in the day in the 400 meter dash to 54.99. The Lady’Backs, missing the NCAA provisional mark by half a second, finished with a time of 3:40.55. All four women competed twice Friday.
In the field events, Michelle Rossio led the way with a career best in the weight throw. Rossio’s toss of 53 feet, 9 ¼ inches was two inches further than her previous career best which she set at the Razorback Invitational earlier this season. After an average first throw and a foul on her second, Rossio uncorked her career best on her third and final toss to throw herself into first place in her heat and 15th overall.
The 60-meter hurdles was also a solid event for the Lady Razorbacks as Cooper and Tiavannia Thompson each advanced to Saturday’s final. Cooper had a great preliminaries effort of 8.33 seconds to finish eighth and qualify for Saturday’s final. Thompson posted a season best 8.44 seconds to claim 16th and earn a lane in the consolation finals.
Another solid performance on the day came from 800-meter runner Janine Davis who was just off her season best in the race. Davis finished in 2:09.59, a half-second off her best time, claiming sixth in the Olympic development competition.
The Tyson Invitational continues on Saturday with collegiate competition beginning at 10:00 a.m. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.