FAYETTEVILLE – Junior Jodi Unger and sophomore Tominque Boatright each earned all-America honors in their respective events on the final day of the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center on Saturday evening.
Boatright was the first Lady’Back to score a point, when she finished eighth in the 400-meter dash. Despite a late reseeding of the event that moved Arkansas from lane three to a tough lane two, Boatright weathered the abrupt change and got off to a good start but was last in her heat at the break. Making up ground on the homestretch, Boatright came through 200 meters with her competition, and then passed a Baylor runner on the curve for the final lap. Picking up some breathing room on the back stretch, Boatright held on for third in her heat and eighth overall.
“We knew coming into this championship that we were really young,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “I was proud of the way our young ladies fought in every event. We may have only had two all-Americans, but I think that the experience that they gathered here will carry all of them to the next level.”
In the pole vault, Unger was just off her personal best which she set at the Tyson Invitational to take eighth-place honors of her own. Missing her first attempt at 12 feet, 7 ½ inches, Unger cleared the bar on her second attempt, then was clean over 13-1 ½. Unger would miss twice at 13-5 ¼, but came through with a clutch performance by making the bar on her third to secure the last scoring position.
Boatright claimed her second all-America honor with her finish and Unger picked up her first. Boatright’s run in the 400-meter finals was the first ever by a Lady Razorback indoors while Unger became the fourth Lady Razorback to earn all-America honors in the pole vault.
Also competing individually was Arkansas’ lone senior at the meet, Penny Splichal. Coming off a tough race in the 5,000-meter run on Friday, Splichal ran the 3,000 on Saturday and looked none the worse for wear as the race began. Staying with the lead pack through the first 1,000 meters, Splichal faded slightly in the middle of the race allowing her competition to build a significant lead. She would end her Lady Razorback career with a 15th-place finish in the race.
The 2006 NCAA Championships came to a close with the women’s 4×400-meter relay and the Lady Razorbacks fought valiantly in the race. The team of Boatright, Jessica Cousins, Sasha Rolle and Paige Farrell nearly duplicated its school record performance at the Iowa State Qualifier when it ran 3:33.72, three hundredths off their Ames, Iowa, race.
As a team, the Lady Razorbacks finished tied for 51st with two points. The University of Texas won the meet with 51 points followed by Stanford 36, Arizona St. 30 and North Carolina 29.
For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.