FAYETTEVILLE – Distance runners on the No. 11 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team excelled Sunday evening at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif. Competing in the 800 meters, 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters and steeplechase, each Razorback runner recorded times that were either No. 1 or 2 in their respective careers.
"We were putting on a clinic," head coach Lance Harter said. "It was a really fun day. Our runners really rose to the occasion and opportunity because the conditions were perfect to run fast. Everyone was aiming to post top times so I’m really pleased with how well we competed today."
In the first result of the day for Arkansas, Stephanie Brown finished second in section two of the 800 meters. The Razorbacks sophomore clocked in at a time of 2:04.31, dipping below her previous personal best of 2:04.52 run last season at the NCAA West Prelims in Austin. The time for Brown is the fastest by an Arkansas half-miler since 2005, the senior season of two-time NCAA champion Aneita Denton.
The team ran to victories in three of the five sections of the 1,500 meters. Kristen Gillespie led a trio of Razorbacks in section three by taking the tape in a time of 4:17.45, more than five seconds faster than her previous best which she ran earlier this season at Mt. SAC Relays. Jillian Rosen finished in a time of 4:20.01, good for fourth place. The time is the second-best of her career and her fastest since the 2009 season. Arkansas’ third finisher in the race was Samantha Learch who finished seventh with a time of 4:23.22.
Running in section four of the 1,500 meters, Paige Johnston captured first place with a personal-best result of 4:22.66, nearly eight seconds faster than her previous best of 4:30.20 run earlier this season at the Razorback Spring Invitational. Keri Wood finished first in section five of the event with a time of 4:32.59, also a personal best.
Cali George continued Arkansas’ success with a third-place finish in section two of the 3,000-meter steeplechase. She crossed in a personal-best time of 10:23.08, knocking almost four seconds off her previous best of 10:27.05 run at the 2011 Mt. SAC Relays. In the Razorbacks’ final race of the day, Miranda Walker finished 10th in the 5,000 meters. She finished in 16:24.39, the second-best time of her career.
The Razorbacks return home for their final preparation before the start of the championship season. The Arkansas Twilight meet will be held May 6 at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville. Field events are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. (CT) with action on the track slated for a 6 p.m. start. For updated home meet information and continued coverage, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.