FAYETTEVILLE – It was a total team effort for the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team on the second day of the Razorback Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center as it produced seven NCAA provisional qualifiers.
Arkansas was solid in the sprints, distances and field events at the Razorback, picking up at least one qualifier in each discipline. The Lady Razorback sprint team saw Tominque Boatright and Jessica Cousins exceed the provisional standard in the 400 meters, then the Lady’Back 4×400-meter relay concluded the meet with an improvement on last week’s qualifying mark. Christine Kalmer and Dacia Barr led the distance team with provisional marks in the 3,000-meter run and mile, respectively, and Jodi Unger and Stephanie Irwin qualified in the pole vault.
“Our pole vaulters were dominating and the distance team came through,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “Our sprinters were solid for the second straight week and as a team we were able to pick up a bunch of NCAA qualifiers. We are on task right now and if we can stay healthy this should be a very good year.”
The surprise of the meet had to be Kalmer in the 3,000-meter run who returned from her native South Africa after the Christmas break on Monday and was scheduled just to lead the race, and then drop out after 2,000 meters. In second at the time she was scheduled to step off the track, Kalmer decided to keep going and attempt to catch unattached runner Miriam Kaumba. She did just that with about 400 meters to go and pushed herself to the provisional qualifier with a finish of 9:30.42. The time is a career best for Kalmer and the first indoor national qualifier of her career.
Arkansas’ 400-meter tandem of Boatright and Cousins were again their outstanding selves as they raced to their first provisional marks of the season in the event. Boatright cruised to a time of 53.98, just off Arkansas’ all-time top five while Cousins continued her tremendous weekend with a personal best indoors of 54.22. Cousins qualified in the 200-meter run on Friday afternoon.
Cousins returned to the track at the end of the day for the 4×400-meter run and despite a change in the lineup that removed Boatright as a precautionary measure, she led the group to an improvement to last weekend’s NCAA provisional mark. Joined by Paige Farrell, Sasha Rolle and Lakeisha Martin, the foursome ran 3:38.90 to drop their previous season best by three-tenths of a second.
In the mile, Dacia Barr was at her best, running 4:44.43 to take second in the race. Picking up her first NCAA qualifier of the season, Barr continues to prove why she is one of the nations up and coming milers. Taking it out from the start, Barr stayed with a lead pack of three for the entire eight-lap race and only fell off the pace of the leader with 250 meters to run. Barr still recorded the provisional mark and finished less than three seconds behind Alex Becker of Tulsa.
For the Lady Razorbacks, the pole vault was a clinic once again. Unger won the competition by six inches when she cleared a career best 13-6 ¼. Her teammate Irwin was another six inches clear of the third-place competitor at 13-0 ¼, as both made the provisional standard for the second straight week. Having already won the competition, Unger took the bar to 13-9 ¼, but failed on her three attempts.
The Lady Razorbacks are off next weekend and continue their quest for NCAA qualifiers at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational on Friday, Feb., 2 at the Armory in New York City. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.