AUSTIN, Texas – Junior Stephanie Irwin improved her NCAA regional qualifying mark in the pole vault to lead the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team on the final day of the 79th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas.
Jumping with teammate Jodi Unger in the ‘A’ section of the even, Irwin soared to 12 feet, 11 ½ inches to improve on her previous season best by six inches and take sixth in the competition that featured some of the nation’s best vaulters. Opening the competition at her season best height, Irwin had no problem with the height, making the bar on her first attempt. Moving to the her final make, Irwin clipped the bar on her first attempt, but sailed over on her second to place herself among the competition’s elite.
“This is a great step of Stephanie,” Arkansas assistant coach Bryan Compton said. “Her training has been going well lately and I expected her to come close to 13 feet again. She is healthy and ready to compete.”
Unger struggled in her home state on Saturday as she finished 10th overall. Also clearing 12-11 ½, she did not clear the bars until her last jump on both occasions. An all-American indoors, Unger already has a solid regional mark and will compete at the Knoxville, Tenn., hosted meet in May.
Arkansas’ only other competitors on Saturday were its 4×400-meter relay who were added to the invitational section of the race based on their preliminary finish. Running against some of the elite professional sprinters in the United States, the Lady’Backs held their own against the world-class field, finishing the race in 3:42.35.
Sasha Rolle led Arkansas off and came out of lane three to hand the baton to Tominque Boatright in fifth position. Boatright looked tremendous in her leg, closing the gap between Arkansas and third place to put the Lady’Backs in position to challenge the three USA teams running. Sophomore Paige Farrell was next for the Lady’Backs and she ran a strong leg, but was unable to keep up with the pace of the professionals who started to pull away from the field. Lakeisha Martin anchored the Lady Razorback relay to their final time.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action next weekend when they travel to the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.