FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Christine Kalmer punched her ticket to the NCAA Championships for Arkansas Lady Razorback track and field on day one of the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships in Fayetteville.
"Christine (Kalmer) got the automatic qualifier and she is a young lady that has been here and knows what it is all about," head coach Lance Harter said. "Catherine (White) ended up having to struggle a little bit in the last 1,000 meters and she is still carrying over from the SEC meet. I think that the strength is not quite there yet so we have two more weeks to gain some of that back."
"Christine’s greatest weapon is the idea that she can handle a hard pace and at the national championship the pace will be hard from the very first step and here it just sort of doddles along and is very pedestrian pace," Harter said. "I think that will help here because if she stays true to form, her finish is not that bad and she is running her last 400 pretty much faster than any other 400 of the race. A couple of people just got away from her but that just happens every once in a while."
With a fourth-place finish in the 5,000 meters, Kalmer earned her trip to Des Moines, Iowa for the NCAA Championships. Kalmer, battling among the top pack for most of the race, earned her top-five finish with a clocking of 16:30.52.
"The goal was to come out here and get a top five finish and get my ticket to nationals, and I have done that so I am happy," Kalmer said. "I would have liked to have placed a bit higher considering that I led the whole race, but I will save that for nationals. I knew it was going to be a slower race since you are only running for places and I was trying to sit behind the leading pack, but seeing that I have such a long stride I kept bumping into people and getting tripped up so I thought it would be easier to just run up front. It would have been nice to win the race since I was leading, but I am happy with top five. I am really excited because this year my times have been really close together and while 16:30.00 isn’t that great but I have been running close times so I am sure a breakthrough is coming. I am going to work on my finish a bit and I am going to try and stay healthy."
Also in the same race, Catherine White finished eighth with a time of 16:52.38. Though she did not earn an automatic-qualifying finish, she does have the potential to earn an at-large bid. Her season best in the 5K is a 16:14.93 and ranked 15th nationally before this weekend’s regional championships. She also holds a strong provisional-qualifying time in the 10K at 33:52.06, ranking 11th in the nation.
Dacia Barr and Jillian Rosen both advanced to Saturday’s final in the 1,500 meters. Running out heat one, Rosen finished fourth in her heat to earn the automatic advancement to the finals. She clocked a time of 4:28.85.
Barr dominated heat two and took a commanding lead from the start. She won her heat with a time of 4:24.99.
"The goal today was just to go out there and get top four make it to finals," Barr said. "Going into it, a lot of my race strategy depended on the first heat and what Jillian was going to do because if she made top four then it didn‘t matter and I could do whatever I wanted, but if she wasn’t then I needed to slow the pace and try to get her in. Right after the first heat finished I knew I could go in and not worry about anything but making the top four spots."
In what was supposed to be a key event for the Lady’Backs, the pole vault turned sour quickly. Battling a high ankle sprain, Stephanie Irwin no heighted. Kristen Keith also failed to clear a bar. Sarah Landau was the top Arkansas vaulter Friday with her ninth-place finish and clearance of 12-11.75. Landau has the potential to be chosen for an at-large bid. Katie Stripling finished 13th, clearing 12-6. Tara Diebold finished 15th with a height of 12-6.
Saturday’s event will begin with Peter-Gaye Beckford in the javelin at 2:45 p.m. For complete results and details of Arkansas Lady Razorback track and field, visit www. Ladybacks.com.