FAYETTEVILLE – Junior Michelle Martin took top honors for the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team in the high jump at the Razorback Invitational with another near NCAA qualifier at the Randal Tyson Track Center on Friday evening.
Martin matched her 5-8 clearance of a week ago to claim the meet’s high jump title and for the second consecutive week made three excellent attempts at 5-10 ½, an NCAA provisional mark and a height that is a near automatic qualifier for the NCAA Championships. Not wasting any energy in her effort for the individual title, Martin attempted three heights including the winning bar of 5-8 and made each with her first attempt. The only competitor left in the field after 5-8, Martin moved the bar to 5-10 ½, but was unable to get over what would have been a two-inch career best.
“It was a good day for us, even though we didn’t have a lot going on,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “Michelle had a great effort for the second straight week despite the fact that she just started working her rotations for her nursing major. I was real pleased with her effort and that of the 5,000-meter runners who ran career best times.”
The Lady’Backs placed three runners in the 17-plus minute 5,000-meter competition and saw freshman Jennifer Harper take third overall to lead the Arkansas contingent. The West Plains, Mo., native clocked 17:27.46, six seconds ahead of sophomore teammate Caroline Peyton who ran down a pair of runners over the final 1,200 meters to take fourth in 17:33.69. Senior Leah Carruthers finished eighth with a time of 18:33.28.
In the 1,000-meter run, sophomore Dacia Barr competed against four all-Americans to take fourth overall with a solid time of 2:52.34. An odd event for the miler, the 1,000 meters is not competed at the Southeastern Conference or NCAA Championships and was scheduled at the Razorback Invitational as a training race for the 11-person field. Barr would run with the lead pack for most of the five-lap race, falling off slightly with two laps to go. Barr would close the gap slightly down the home stretch, but was unable to overtake third place.
The 200 meter dash would see three Lady’Backs finish 10th, 11th and 12th out of 40 competitors. Running 11 heats of the race, Arkansas’ Sasha Rolle, Lakeisha Martin and Sydney Scarbrough would each compete in different heats, but run times that were just 0.06 seconds apart with Rolle leading the way at 24.94 and Scarbrough book ending the times at 25.00. Martin would clock 24.98 to fill the gap.
Martin would return to action just moments after finishing her 200-meter run with the long jump. Despite skipping her first jump due to her 200 race, Martin hit a very good jump on her third and final attempt to make the finals of the competition. After securing another three attempts, Martin would make the most of her opportunity by nailing her best jump of the competition 18-2 ½ on her second to last jump to finish sixth.
Arkansas’ list of competitors concluded in the shot put where sophomore Whitney Anderson threw a season best mark of 34-11 for 15th place. The second thrower in the competition, Anderson had her best throw on her first attempt. Anderson’s second and third tries were just centimeters off her opening toss, but neither could overtake her season-best mark.
The Razorback Invitational continues on Saturday with a jam packed day of running events beginning at 1 p.m. and running through 5 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.