DES MOINES, Iowa – The No. 4 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team picked up a third finals qualifier Thursday on day two of the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. Kristen Gillespie advanced to the finals of the 1,500 meters and Makeba Alcide is currently ninth place in the heptathlon with a day-one total of 3,278 points.
"(Kristen) had a great race to qualify," head coach Lance Harter said. "She had to run a PR to get to the next round but that’s what you have to do to compete with the very best on the national level. Now, she’s put herself in position to score Saturday and now it’s a matter of taking advantage of this great opportunity."
Gillespie secured a spot in Saturday’s final of the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:17.00, a personal-best performance. Running in the second of two heats, she clinched an automatic spot in the title race and finished fifth overall among the 12 moving on. Arkansas’ second runner in the event, Jillian Rosen finished 23rd overall in a time of 4:30.42. Her year will draw to a close with a season-best time of 4:20.01, run in May at the Cardinal Invitational.
Alcide began day one of the heptathlon in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.08, just .03 off her personal best. The performance was worth 967 points and good for 11th place after one event. Working with a wet infield, the high jump was moved indoors and Alcide finished with a mark of 5-6.5 which added 842 points to her overall total.
In the third event of day one for the heptathlon, Alcide finished 15th in the shot put with a day’s best mark of 37-3.25. The throw was worth 619 points. Running in heat three of the final event of the day, Alcide finished 12th overall in the 200 meters with a time of 25.41, good for 850 points. Tomorrow’s final three events of the two-day competition will be the long jump, javelin and 800 meters.
The Razorbacks’ 4×400-meter relay did not qualify for Saturday’s final after a dropped baton on exchange two. Despite the mishap, which dropped the team from its first-place position, the team rallied for a fourth-place finish in heat one. The quartet of Regina George, Shelise Williams, Gwendolyn Flowers and Whitney Jones pulled together for a time of 3:35.54, which did not stand up against other at-large times.
"Obviously, the frustration comes from not moving on with our 4×4," Harter said. "Not only do you feel bad for the team itself but you feel for Shelise running in her final NCAA Championships. But she and Regina will be back with another chance to score tomorrow in the 400-meter final. From here on, it’s all about the finals and scoring points."
Arkansas had been ranked No. 2 all season long in the mile relay and have a season-best time of 3:28.63, a school record. George and Williams will return to the track Friday evening for the final of the 400 meters, set for a 7:55 p.m. (CT) start.
Making her national meet debut, Ivanique Kemp ran to a finish of 13.20 in the semifinal heats of the 100-meter hurdles. She finished third in her heat and 10th overall, just two spots away from qualifying for the finals. Kemp will end the year with a season-best time of 13.17 which she ran last month at the Arkansas Twilight.
Friday’s schedule for the Razorbacks is set to feature four point-scoring opportunities with conclusion of the heptathlon and finals of the 400 meters, 400-meter hurdles and pole vault. Day three of the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships will be televised by CBS College Sports at 6:30 p.m. and streamed lived at NCAA.com. Log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com for more information and continued meet coverage, including live results and interactive blog.
NCAA Championships – Day 2 Results
Heptathlon9. Makeba Alcide – 3,278 points11. 100mH – 14.08, 967 points9. High Jump – 1.69m, 842 points15. Shot Put – 11.36m, 619 points12. 200m – 25.41, 850 points
1,500 Meters5. Kristen Gillespie – 4:17.00 (Q)23. Jillian Rosen – 4:30.42
100M Hurdles10. Ivanique Kemp – 13.20
4x400m RelayGeorge/Williams/Flowers/Jones – 3:35.54