PALO ALTO, Calif. – Seniors Beyonka McDowell and Alison (Zeinner) Rush were the headliners of eight University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track NCAA qualifiers on the first day of the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif., late Friday night.
McDowell soared to 20 feet, five inches in the long jump, a career best since arriving at Arkansas while Rush ran 10,000 meters in 33:44.36 to post an automatic qualifier for the NCAA Championships. The duo lead saw Lady Razorbacks qualify in events as diverse as the 10,000, 5,000, 100 hurdles and long jump.
“We did really well,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “The 10,000 was unbelievable and the 5 as well. Penny (Splichal) had a nice breakthrough and Beyonka was tremendous winning the long jump against a very competitive field.”
McDowell’s long jump mark was a mere quarter inch away from fifth on Arkansas’ all-time list as she easily won the competition. She is chasing former Lady’Back Toshei Woods’ mark of 20-10 set back in 1993 in fact her leap is the closest that any Lady Razorback has come to the record since it was set.
In the longest race of the outdoor season, Rush was also just off the Lady Razorback top five when she ran her auto qualifier. Rush was joined by junior Jessie Gordon and redshirt freshman Tiffany Redlarczyk in the race and watched her teammates each run personal bests with Gordon picking up the first NCAA provisional qualifier of her career when she ran 34:39.45.
The Lady Razorback’s trio of 5,000-meter runners each recorded NCAA regional marks when they put up a pair of career bests. Led by Splichal who crushed her personal best in the event by 17 seconds when she ran 16:24.34, fellow senior Laura Jakosky put together a 24 second personal best with Maureen Scott also clocking a time under 17 minutes for the regional standard. For Jakosky, her time was the first outdoor 5,000-meter race of her career in which she broke 17 minutes.
Rounding out Arkansas’ first day of action was the preliminaries of the 100-meter hurdles in which McDowell and senior Kasia Williams looked solid as they posted regional qualifying efforts on way to a spot in day two’s final. McDowell posted the meet’s third best time at 13.65, a career best, while Williams enters finals action with the fifth best time of 13.77.
For more information about Lady Razorback track and filed or about Arkansas women’s athletics, visit www.ladybacks.com.