WACO, Texas – Junior Jessica Cousins made a grand return from a leg injury she suffered two weeks ago by setting the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team’s school record in the 400-meter dash with a stunning time of 53.28 seconds at the Michael Johnson Invitational in Waco, Texas.
Sitting out the last two weekends to mend her injury, Cousins returned to action looking to improve upon her NCAA regional qualifier in the 400, what she accomplished was much more impressive as she shattered the oldest school record in the Arkansas history books by 0.17 seconds.
“When Jessica came here in the fall, I knew that she would be a major player in what we are trying to accomplish,” Arkansas associate head coach Rolando Greene said. “She was a part of our 4×4 team indoors and has been getting better and better in the open 400 meters since the fall. I am really proud of her and what she has accomplished and think that with Tominque Boatright and Sasha Rolle, we could see that record get broken several more times before the end of the season.”
Cousins finished second overall in the invitational section of the race, with her teammate, Rolle, not too far off the pace. Getting out quickly, Cousins looked strong down the backstretch, but really turned it on down the homestretch as she did not allow the pain of the long sprint get to her. Behind Cousins’ 53.28, Rolle clocked a near season best of 54.33.
Michelle Martin also put together a solid performance in her specialty, the high jump. Clearing a career best 5-8 ¾ two weeks ago at the Texas Relays, Martin matched the performance in Waco to prove that the first jump was no fluke. A 5-8 high jumper for the past several months, Martin would clip the high jump bar at anything above that height, but over the past two competitions seems to have found her marks as she continues to improve in the event.
In the 200 meters, sophomore Tominque Boatright ran a cautious race as she nurses a tight leg muscle, but didn’t let the effects of the tightness prevent her from running a near personal best at 23.98 seconds. Winning the competition out of the slow heat, Boatright once again proved that she could compete with the nation’s best despite her condition.
Arkansas’ 100-meter hurdlers also took center stage as they made it a Lady Razorback 1-2 sweep. Junior Tiavannia Thompson was the eventual victor, winning both the prelims and finals of the competition. Running 13.91 in the prelims, Thompson dropped her time to 13.84 in the finals for the easy win. Teammate Megan Thompson also dropped her prelim time in the finals when she ran 14.34 to qualify, then 14.23 to finish second.
For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.