DES MOINES, Iowa – Arkansas Lady Razorback track and field had three of its distance runners and Katie Stripling in the pole vault competing on day one of the NCAA Championships at Drake Stadium on Wednesday.
"Katie Stripling looked really confident today," head coach Lance Harter said. "She looked really composed compared to the regional meet. Christine Kalmer got the honest heat of the 5,000 meters and did what she needed to do to advance. Catherine White’s heat was just like the one that Christine didn’t qualify out of last year. It was a tough race to be in but she still has U.S. Junior Championships next week so she isn’t done yet."
Christine Kalmer advanced to Friday’s finals in the 5,000 meters. She finished seventh in her heat and 13th overall. She clocked a time of 16:49.53.
"It’s a big relief just to know I have prelims out of the way and now I can focus on the final," Kalmer said of the prelims. "The first heat was really slow so we knew that we just needed to go out and make the pace honest. It was nice to know going into it that the time wasn’t that fast. I couldn’t believe how slow the first heat was."
Katie Stripling got her groove back with a tied for first-place finish in the pole vault. She cleared 13-5.25 to automatically advance to the finals.
"I felt really good," Stripling said. "I just told myself to relax and to have fun. I was really nervous coming in here, I knew I had to make the best of this because it was my second chance to get in and actually be here and I just had to tell myself to relax. I got a lot less nervous after the first bar and then things just fell into place. The goal was to get into the finals and just make the bars that you have to make to get in. At regionals I got really nervous and I put a lot of pressure on myself so today I told myself not to do that and just to be positive so it made it a lot easier."
In the first heat of the 5K, Catherine White finished 24th overall and 10th in what turned out to be an incredibly slow heat. She clocked a time of 17:48.26.
Megan Jackson finished 11th in her heat and 23rd overall in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. She clocked a time of 10:51.26.
Thursday’s events for the Lady’Backs will begin at 4:30 p.m. with Makeatha Cooper in the 100-meter hurdles.
For complete results of the NCAA Championships, visit www.ladybacks.com.