FAYETTEVILLE – Senior Jessica Cousins recorded the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team’s fourth NCAA provisional qualifier on Friday night when she ran 23.81 in the 200-meter dash at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville.
The time is the first individual mark for any Lady Razorback in the sprints this winter and placed Cousins second overall in the race behind Virgil Hodge of TCU.
“Jessica gave us a great boost,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “She is an integral part of our master plan and for her to post a qualifier in the 200 meters is a real bonus. She got the ball rolling today and then we saw some very good performances including Peter-Gaye in the long jump and Etienne Chaplin in the pentathlon.”
Cousins’ 200-meter time is a career best by a half-second and snuck under the provisional standard of 23.90. She joins pole vaulters Jodi Unger and Stephanie Irwin and Arkansas’ 4×400-meter relay on the NCAA provisional lists.
Joining the Lady Razorbacks for the first time on Friday night was Peter-Gaye Beckford who competed in the long jump. Not wasting any time, she jumped to a competition leading 19-6 ¼ on her first attempt and never looked back, winning the event by ¼ inch over Toni Smith of Oklahoma. Following her first attempt, Beckford fouled three times, before jumps of 19-4 ¾ and 19-3 ½.
In the multi-event competition, Etienne Chaplin nearly posted a NCAA provisional mark, but missed by a scant 55 points. Opening the competition with a time of 8.94 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles, Chaplin would stay in the top three throughout the five-event pentathlon. Her high jump of 5-2 ½ was right at her average for the event but then finished second overall in the shot put with a toss of 35-2. Chaplin’s long jump of 18-10 ¾, kept her on pace for a qualifier but her 800-meter run of 2:29.84 finished her just short of the mark.
In the distance races, the Lady Razorbacks got a very good performance from sophomore Jennifer Harper who fell just short of her career best in the 5,000-meter run. Running 17:28.64, Harper finished second overall and led a 2-4 Lady Razorback finish as she was followed by junior Beth Fahey.
Arkansas also placed a distance medley relay on the track and the quartet finished third in the competition with a time of 11:51.12. Led by junior Lauren Lewis, Courtenay Brown took the baton for the 400-meter leg before handing to freshman Jennifer Fall. Sophomore Christine Kalmer would anchor the squad.
The Razorback Invitational continues on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. with the conclusion of the men’s heptathlon. Finals for all other events are scheduled for noon. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.