NEW YORK, N.Y. – The University of Arkansas distance medley relay and senior Brandy Blackwood each set Lady Razorback school records in their respective events at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational at the Armory in New York, N.Y. on Friday afternoon.
Blackwood opened the day’s action with weight throw mark while the distance medley relay capped off the afternoon’s action which included not just two school records but several season and career bests along the way.
“This is more than I could have hoped for,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “We wanted to come here and qualify for the NCAA Championships in the relays, we got the first one and a bonus with Brandy. To set school records in both those events is just a testament to how hard these young ladies have worked this year.”
In the first final of the day, Blackwood entered her last three throws of the competition in fourth position, but changed that quickly when she uncorked a toss of 65 feet, 2 ¼ inches to move into second place. On her final toss she was marked at 65-11 to shatter the three-year-old Arkansas record set by Marie LeJour by nearly three feet. Blackwood’s toss is also a NCAA provisional qualifier.
“Brandy looked good throughout the competition,” Lady Razorback assistant coach Bryan Compton said. “Her practices have been going very well and I knew that it was a matter of time before she really got one out there. That throw should get her into the national meet.”
Ending the day’s action at the Armory was a young Lady Razorback distance medley relay who toed the line with some of the best teams in the nation. Two seniors and two freshman made up the squad while senior Aneita Denton attempted to run the opening 1,200-meter portion of the race for the first time in her career. As the gun sounded, Denton was not intimidated by the experience of her competition as she ran shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of North Carolina and Stanford. Clocking 3:22 for her portion of the race, she was well ahead of what Arkansas coaches expected out of the Jamaican native.
Denton’s run gave the baton to freshman Tominque Boatright in a dead heat with the favorites and one of the newest Lady Razorbacks immediately took the race to her counterparts. Taking the early lead, she split a very good 54.4 for 400 meters and kept the Lady Razorbacks out front before fellow freshman Paige Farrell took the stick for the 800-meter portion of the race.
With her family in attendance, Farrell not only looked good, but impressed all that watched as she led for a majority of the third leg. Coming in with only one collegiate 800-meter under her belt, Farrell split 2:07, a time that would have qualified for the NCAA Championships had it been an open race.
Four-time all-America Erica Sigmont anchored the team home as she faced a pair of the nation’s best milers to help the Lady Razorbacks cross the finish line in fourth poistion overall and just outside the NCAA automatic qualifying time by a scant nine hundredths of a second. Arkansas’ overall time of 11:09.09 crushed the previous record set by Londa Bevins, Angel Heath, Sigmont and Christin Wurth in 2003 by more than two seconds.
In the 60-meter hurdles, Lady Razorback senior Kasia Williams returned to her hometown and clocked the meet’s fastest time at 8.33 seconds. Holding the fastest time of the competition, Williams qualified for an opportunity to run at the prestigious Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in a nightcap where she won the race with a career best time of 8.27 seconds, the fourth fastest time in UA history.
Other Lady Razorbacks that performed very well on Friday afternoon included Beyonka McDowell who missed the NCAA provisional standard by one centimeter in the long jump with a leap of 19-11 ¾, redshirt freshman Tiffany Redlarczyk who clocked a career best in the 3,000 meters at 10:08.29 and freshman Whitney Anderson who notched a season best in the high jump at 5-3.
The Lady Razorbacks conclude action at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational on Saturday afternoon. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.