INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Junior Jessica Cousins was the first University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track athlete to advance at AT&T USA Track and Field Championships on Thursday when she rattled off a 52.62 400-meter run in Indianapolis, Ind.
Cousins was one of six current and former Lady Razorbacks to take to the track on Thursday and one of four to qualify to the next round of competition. Joining Cousins in next round are former Lady’Backs Nicole Teter (800), Christin (Wurth) Thomas (1,500) and LaShaunte’a Moore (100).
“Jessica continues to impress everyone that watches her,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “Our athletes have had to be at their best for more than a month with the SEC, regional and national championships and two weeks removed from that she comes out and runs this well again is something to see. The United States is one of the strongest countries in the world for 400 meters and just making the second round puts you on par with some of the best.”
In her opening race, Cousins’ time of 52.62 ranked fourth in her heat and 12th overall earning her one of the timed qualifiers for the semifinals. While no where near her season and career best of 51.92 which she ran at the NCAA Championships two weeks ago, Cousins goes into the semifinals knowing that there is plenty left for a run at the finals. Joining Cousins in the opening round of the 400 meters was junior Tominque Boatright whose 53.16 ranked 17th overall and failed to make the finals.
Junior Dacia Barr also opened her competition on Thursday with the 1,500-meter run, but the NCAA finalist was unable to make it out of the prelims of the competition. Barr clocked a solid time of 4:18.01, a time that would have scored at the NCAA meet, but at the elite level was just not good enough to make the 12-person final. Barr finished 14th overall. Former Lady’Back Thomas did move on to the 1,500 final with her preliminary mark of 4:31.74. She nabbed the eighth fastest time of the competition.
The 800-meter run saw Teter race to second in her heat and sixth overall to qualify for the event semifinals. She ran a solid 2:05.40 to secure a good spot for the next round. While her time was by no means staggering, Teter used her experience to run just fast enough to qualify and conserve energy for the next round.
Arkansas’ former Lady’Back lineup was completed by Moore who ran very well in the opening round of the 100-meter dash. Moore’s time of 11.10 finished third in her heat and ninth overall giving her an inside lane for the semifinals. Known more for her 200-meter speed, Moore’s 100-meter advancement should pay dividends in the longer competition which has its opening round on Friday.
The USA Track and Field Championships continue through the weekend in Indianapolis, Ind. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.