PALO ALTO, Calif. – Freshmen Christine Kalmer and Kelly Vrshek accomplished their goals at the Stanford Invitational late Friday night when they qualified for the NCAA Mideast Regional in the 5,000-meter run.
Finishing 15th and 16th, respectively, the duo competed against both collegiate and unattached runners in the fast-paced run. Kalmer completed the 12 ½ lap race in 16:41.93, well under the NCAA Regional qualifier of 16:52.0, while Vrshek was not far behind her teammate at 16:45.31.
“Overall we had a pretty good day,” Arkansas head track coach Lance Harter said. “We picked up the two qualifiers in the 5,000 and had some very good 10,000-meter runs. I think that these young ladies are really beginning to take notice about what has to be done to compete at the elite level and I am encouraged by that.”
Arkansas’ 10,000-meter quartet was led by senior Jessie Gordon who came within 16 seconds of the NCAA provisional mark with a near career best, 35:32.89. Finishing 12th overall, she was the ninth collegiate to cross the line. Running in her first career 10K, freshmen Denise Bargiachi and Jennifer Harper had their hands full with the competition. Bargiachi showed much of the same poise that carried her to a fourth-place finish at the NACAC Cross Country meet by completing the race in 36:03.74, with Harper at 36:45.61. Sophomore Beth Fahey finished in 37:35.37.
Splitting its squad on the weekend, the Lady Razorbacks also sent a group of athletes to the Missouri Southern Track Festival in Joplin, Mo., and for the second straight week, junior Carly Bloomfield looked strong in the javelin. Tossing the implement 128 feet, eight inches, Bloomfield was eight feet in front of her teammate and training partner Kelsey Mollenkamp who finished second at 120-5.
“We’ve had a couple of good meets, but I’m still waiting for them to pop one,” Arkansas assistant coach Bryan Compton mused. “I know that we can throw further and jump higher in all our events, but it’s still early and we have some great competitions coming up that should push our athletes.”
Also winning their competitions were high jumper Michelle Martin and shot putter Michelle Rossio. Junior sprinter Lakeisha Martin took the top time in the 100-meter prelims, but still has a final to race in. Martin just missed the NCAA regional qualifier of 5-8 when she cleared 5-7 ¾, barely missing out on the bar at a career best 5-9. Flying over her last clearance, Martin should qualify in the near future.
Rossio was another Lady Razorback who came oh so close to the regional mark when she came up just over two inches from punching her ticket to Knoxville, Tenn. Rossio’s toss of 46-8 ¾ is more than a foot better than her throw of last weekend and has her pointing in the right direction as the major competitions loom on the horizon.
The 100-meter dash saw a strong wind of 3.3 meters-per-second push Martin to the top spot in the finals. Running a career best, although wind aided, 12.04 seconds, Martin goes into the final as the favorite and should have tough competition around her as she attempts to pick up a regional qualifier of her own.
For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.