FAYETTEVILLE – Junior Brandy Blackwood got the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team’s day started on the right note when she eclipsed the Arkansas record in the hammer throw with a toss of 190 feet, 10 inches at the John McDonnell Invitational on Saturday afternoon.
Breaking the three-year-old mark set by Marie LeJour at 190-7, Blackwood was well in front of the competition with all five of her legal throws ahead of the second competitor. Blackwood had recorded the fourth-best throw in Arkansas history at the Texas Relays two weeks ago, but blew past her 186-1 mark from Austin with her record-setting toss. The throw moves Blackwood into fourth place on the SEC top marks list and 25th on the national list.
“We did really well today,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “Brandy had a great throw to get us started and the pole vaulters did very well. I was really proud of Maureen (Scott) in the 1,500, she really dug down and hung in there.”
The pole vault saw a pair of Lady Razorbacks improve on their previous season bests when Stacie Manuel and Danielle O’Reilly each cleared 13-1 ½ to place first and second in the competition. Manuel Edged her freshman teammate based on misses, but the pair moved themselves into a tie for first among SEC competitors with their regional qualifying efforts. For Manuel, the jump is proof that she is steadily improving and staying healthy, but for O’Reilly the clearance is her personal best since arriving at Arkansas and is the first time that the freshman has cleared 13 feet this season.
Arkansas’ lone addition to the NCAA regional list came in the 800-meter run where Lady Razorbacks went 2-3-4 in the race led by freshman Paige Farrell who improved her regional mark with a time of 2:08.40. Senior Erica Sigmont notched the Lady Razorback’s 25th NCAA qualifier when she ran 2:09.00 to finish just behind her teammate with freshman Dacia Barr crossing in 2:12.89 to just miss the qualifying standard. Former Lady Razorback standout Christin Wurth-Thomas won the race in 2:07.63.
In the 1,500-meter run, Scott ran a personal best 4:30.26 to barely edge senior teammate Aneita Denton at the tape (4:30.32). The duo led a 1-2-4-5-8-9 finish of Lady Razorback athletes as Arkansas dominated the seeded section of the race. Side-by-side for the majority of the race, Denton took the lead with 400 meters to go, but Scott stayed within striking distance and with everything she could muster, caught the reigning NCAA Champion at 800 meters at the finish.
Freshman Sydney Scarbrough was the other Lady Razorback victor at the McDonnell Invitational when she took top honors in the 100-meter dash. Running the second fastest time of preliminaries, Scarbrough looked strong in the finals as she clocked a personal best 11.92 to take the final by one tenth of a second.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action next week when they split their squads for the Penn and Drake Relays in Philadelphia, Pa., and Des Moines, Iowa. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, visit www.ladybacks.com.