FAYETTEVILLE – Freshmen Tara Diebold and Catherine White and Arkansas distance medley relay team brought the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback list of NCAA qualifiers to 13 on Saturday, the final day of the Tyson Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville when they posted provisional marks in the pole vault and 3,000 meters, respectively.
Diebold cleared a season best 12-11 ¾ for her qualifier while White ran 9:32.77 to dip under provisional in her event. The qualifiers are the first for both Lady Razorbacks who had been knocking on the door for several weeks.
“As a team, we were pretty wiped out after the New York trip last weekend, but despite that we had a very good meet,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “To see our freshmen start to get provisional qualifiers is impressive to me and shows us as a staff that the future is very bright. I was pleased with the way our team fought in every race and am looking forward to the SEC Championships in two weeks.”
Diebold’s series in the pole vault saw her clear the first four bars beginning at 11-6 ¼ through her final made bar 12-11 ¾ without a miss. Diebold would pass the next bar, 13-3 ¾, and take it up to 13-7 ¾ where she would make a pair of excellent attempts, but failed to clear the height.
White’s 3,000-meter run was a matter of patience and a late surge. Hanging in the middle of the field for most of the competition, White steadily moved her way forward in the final laps before sprinting the final 200 meters in an astonishing 33 seconds to finish second overall in the invitational section of the race. Teammate Denise Bargiachi also ran well, using the same tactics as her fellow Lady’Back to claim fourth in 9:37.30, just off the NCAA provisional standard.
The quartet of Jillian Rosen, Shelise Williams, Janine Davis and Dacia Barr were able to string together a solid distance medley relay of 11:18.33 on way to a victory and provisional qualifier. Rosen led the Lady Razorbacks with an outstanding 1,200-meter leg of 3:24 before handing off to fellow first-year runner Williams who clocked a 54 second 400-meter leg. Janine Davis and Dacia Barr finished off the relay with solid runs solidifying the Lady Razorback qualifier.
Makeatha Cooper continued her improvement in the 60-meter hurdles by shaving 1/100th off her personal best in the event finals. Running on the outside in lane eight, Cooper got off to a strong start and maintained her speed well through the middle of the race, finishing at 8.26 seconds. Cooper began the weekend with the ninth fastest 60-meter hurdles time in the nation.
The triple jump competition was also positive for the Lady Razorbacks as junior Peter-Gaye Beckford was just shy of her personal best when she leaped 39 feet, 3 ¼ inches. Beckford’s mark was also a positive in her consistency which she has shown in every competition this season. A pleasant surprise for Arkansas came from freshman Lauren Cox who crushed her previous best in the event by two feet when she sprang to 37-6 ½.
The Lady Razorbacks take their first weekend off in preparation for the Southeastern Conference Championships in Fayetteville, February 29 through March 2. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.