SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Despite rain in normally sunny Sacramento, Calif., three University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track and field athletes advanced to semifinal action at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Wednesday.
Seniors Aneita Denton and Erica Sigmont each finished among the top three of their heat of the 800-meter run to be the first Lady Razorbacks to move on while fellow fourth year Kasia Williams advanced just 45 minutes later.
“Today it is all about qualifying for the next round,” Arkansas head track coach Lance Harter said. “We did exactly what we needed to do today and that is what is important. I thought that Aneita and Erica ran smart races while Kasia ended up with one of the fastest preliminary times of the hurdles.”
In the 800, Sigmont and Denton each competed in the third of four preliminary heats and completed the two-lap race in second and third place, respectively. Clocking times of 2:05.29 and 2:05.73, the duo cruised across the finish line after running a relatively easy race but did the important part of their job which was to finish among the automatic qualifying top three. Sigmont’s time was a career best by two-tenths of a second.
In the hurdles, Williams finished second in her heat with a time of 13.21, the fourth fastest among competitors. Running with the wind, Williams looked solid over each of the 10 hurdles as she showed no ill effects of her NCAA regional performance two weeks ago where she hit a pair of hurdles in the final.
Williams advancement during the prelims, allowed her to compete in the semifinals, just over one hour and a half later and in that round, her time of 13.23 moved her to the finals of the event to be contested on Friday. Williams once again looked solid over the hurdles as she finished fourth in her heat and sixth overall.
Arkansas’ first casualty of the rounds at the NCAA Championships came in the steeplechase where junior Maureen Scott placed 15th overall during preliminary action with a time of 10:17.70, missing the finals cut of 14 by three seconds. Looking good for most of her race, she seemed to lose focus slightly midway through, a lapse that cost her precious time and a spot at her second all-America honor in the event.
In the 5,000-meter run, senior Laura Jakosky struggled mid-way through her race as she lost contact with the lead pack. Hanging with the leaders through the opening five laps, Jakosky fell behind slightly before roaring back to the leaders. Another surge by the frontrunners sent Jakosky further back, a place she was unable to reach the top six from as she crossed the finish line in 17:03.43, failing to make the finals of the race.
The Lady Razorbacks continue at the NCAA Outdoor Track Championships on Thursday afternoon. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, visit www.ladybacks.com.