PALO ALTO, Calif. – Seniors Beyonka McDowell and Kasia Williams each improved on their NCAA regional qualifiers from the first day of the Stanford Invitational to lead the University of Arkansas Lady Razorbacks to a fabulous opening weekend that saw it post 11 NCAA qualifying marks to open the 2005 outdoor season.
McDowell and Williams each posted qualifiers in the 100-meter hurdle preliminaries but took it a step further in the finals. McDowell’s improvement was a career best at 13.64, but Williams looked like another person as she dropped her prelims time from 13.77 to 13.19 under legal wind conditions to also post a career best.
“Overall this was a fantastic opener,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “We picked up a lot of qualifiers and appear ready for the outdoor season after a short break following the indoor championships. I was very pleased with everyone’s performances.”
Joining the hurdles pair in regional qualifying was the freshman tandem of Paige Farrell and Dacia Barr in the 800 and 1,500-meter runs, respectively. Farrell, a Springdale, Ark., native was an all-American indoors in her event, a race which she just started competing at this winter. Her time of 2:09.52 was off her indoor career best, but showed Arkansas’ coaches that she has the ability to run even faster outdoors than she did on the smaller indoor oval.
For Barr, her 1,500 qualifier is the first of her career. The fifth-place finisher in the mile indoors at the SEC Championships, Barr was close to the mile’s provisional standard indoors, but missed the mark by several seconds. Her outdoor time of 4:25.59 was two seconds under the regional standard and guarantees her a spot at the regional championships to be held in late May.
Arkansas’ final regional qualifier on the day was the 4×400-meter relay which posted a time of 3:38.67 to finish third overall in Palo Alto and slip under the regional qualifying standard by four seconds.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action in two weeks when they travel to Austin, Texas, to compete at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.