SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Juniors Jessica Cousins and Dacia Barr each earned all-America honors on the final day of the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday to pace the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team to a 15th-place finish in Sacramento, Calif.
Cousins and Barr scored nine points on Saturday to bring the Lady Razorback total to 17 points and into 15th- place, its highest since 2004 when it scored 22 and finished tied for 10th. Arizona State won the NCAA title with 60 points followed by LSU (53), Michigan (36), Texas A&M (34) and UCLA (30) rounding out the top five.
“We had another great day today,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “Jessica goes out and breaks the school record again and Dacia runs a lifetime best in the 1,500. Coming in we thought that we could score in four events and did so in three. I am very proud of everyone that made it here and competed. This was one of our best NCAA Championships and we couldn’t ask for more.”
Cousins was the first Lady Razorback to take the track on Saturday, racing in the finals of the 400-meter dash. Starting in lane two, Cousins was looking to chase the leaders for three-quarters of the race before the finals stretch and executed well throughout the competition to allow her reset the Lady Razorback school record and pick up a fourth-place individual finish. Running 51.92, Cousins made a bold move over the final 150 meters to go from seventh to fourth down the homestretch.
Cousins’ school record is the fourth time that she set the mark this season making her just the second Lady Razorback to ever accomplish that task (Christin Wurth in the 1,500 in 2003) and she improved the Lady Razorback record by nearly a full second from the beginning of the year (52.83-51.92). Cousins set the record first at the Jim Click Shoot-Out to open the season then at the Southeastern Conference Championships, the NCAA Mideast Regional and the NCAA Championships.
Arkansas’ day was concluded by Barr in the 1,500-meter run. Coming in with the nation’s third fastest collegiate time, Barr looked to stay with the national leaders, but it was a pair of Stanford runners who strung out the pack early and made for a clean race. The early pace was very fast as the crew came through the 400-meter mark at 66 seconds. Stanford’s Arianna Lambie then raced from the middle of the pack to the lead at 600 meters pushing the pace even faster. Barr and North Carolina’s Brie Felnagle would chase Lambie down the homestretch.
Florida State’s Susan Kuijken would join the front runners, making for an entertaining four-way battle over the next 400 meters. At the bell Felnagle and Kuijken would grab the lead with Barr hovering in fourth and looking strong, but an unbelievable effort by Oral Robert’s Mable Kunihira would allow her to pass Barr with 50 meters to go giving Barr fifth place.
Barr would finish in a career best 4:14.24 and grab the third fastest time in Lady Razorback history. Only Wurth holds a faster 1,500-meter mark. The all-America honor by Barr is also her first as an individual giving her two for her career.
The conclusion of the NCAA Championships ends the Lady Razorback’s collegiate season, but select members of the team now prepare to compete with former Lady’Backs as well as the best athletes in the country at the USA Track and Field senior and junior championships in Indianapolis, Ind., in two weeks. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.