FAYETTEVILLE – Sophomore Stephanie Irwin cleared a season and career best 13 feet, 4 ¼ inches in the pole vault to lead the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team at the Tyson Invitational on Friday afternoon at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
Irwin made her first bar, 12-4 ½, on her first attempt before missing her second jump of the afternoon, this time at 12-8 ½. Irwin flew over the height on her second attempt, then looked very good at the third bar of the competition, 13-0 ¼. The next height, 13-4 ¼ loomed large in front of the Mt. Ida native, but despite missing her first two chances, Irwin snuck over the height on her third attempt to place herself among the leaders in the NCAA in the event.
“I really thought that I was going to make 13-4 this week,” Irwin said. “I had a good week of practice and I think that this is just the beginning, I hope to jump higher in the next few weeks.”
Irwin’s teammates Jodi Unger and Danielle O’Reilly cleared 13-0 ¼ and 12-4 ½, respectively, to take sixth and 13th in the competition.
Arkansas’ 4×400-meter relay also posted a NCAA provisional qualifier when it ran 3:37.21 to take fifth in the invitational section of the race. Leading off with 400-meter qualifier Tominque Boatright, Arkansas started well and took on the top-notch field. Jessica Cousins took the stick for Arkansas’ second leg and posted the team’s best split at 53.35 to keep the Lady’Backs in prime position. Junior Sasha Rolle and sophomore Paige Farrell wrapped up Arkansas’ relay to fifth in the race, but to one of the top times in the NCAA this season.
“I knew that this relay was going to be really fast,” Arkansas Associate Head Coach Rolando Greene said. “We wanted to get out and see what we could do and I was really proud of the way we fought. I think that this relay can go faster in the near future and can’t wait to see that happen.”
Over in the distances, junior Caroline Peyton finished sixth in the mile when she ran 4:56.12. Fighting throughout her race, Peyton went passed several runners in the final stages of the race to secure her time which was just off her season best mark of 4:55.45 which she ran last weekend in New York City.
The loaded field at the Tyson Invitational allowed several Lady Razorbacks to post season best times including Sydney Scarbrough and Lakeisha Martin in the 60-meter dash. Martin matched her Arkansas Invitational performance of 7.69 while Scarbrough clocked 7.87.
The Tyson Invitational continues on Saturday with several Lady Razorbacks taking the track. Action begins at 11 a.m. and continues through 5 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.