TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The No. 2 Arkansas women’s track and field team opened its long weekend of competition at the 2016 Southeastern Conference Championships with exceptional efforts from the combined events crew, strong preliminary performances in the open races and a 10,000-meter run podium-finish.
Arkansas heptathletes Taliyah Brooks, Leigha Brown, Alex Gochenour, Kelsey Herman and Payton Stumbaugh took control of the competition from the start as all five were among the seven-best performers of the day in the 100 hurdles.
Gochenour shined the brightest in the first race of the day joining teammate Stumbaugh in the elite group of Razorbacks under 13 seconds in the high-hurdles. Her new lifetime-best of 12.98 seconds ties her as second-best in the event in program history and grants her entry to the 2016 USATF Olympic Trials.
Along with the hurdles, Gochenour also collected a major personal best in the shot put with a toss of 13.53/44-4 3/4 — a 17-inch improvement from her previous PR.
Brown also secured a new lifetime best in the shot put of 13.12/43-0 1/2 while Herman improved in the 200 crossing the finish line as the fastest performer of the day in 23.57.
The group heads into tomorrow’s final three events — long jump, javelin throw and 800 — with Gochenour in third place (3,667), Stumbaugh in fourth (3,622) and Brooks (3,590), Brown (3,498) and Herman (3,487) taking up the fifth to seventh spots.
Survive and Advance
• 200 – Taylor Ellis-Watson advanced with the third-best time of the day and new personal best of 22.52. The time ranks the nine-time All-American as the fourth-best performer in the world.
• 800 – Freshman Ceara Watson earned the final spot in Saturday’s 800 final off a 2:07.30 in section one of the preliminary round.
• 400H – Another underclassman, Damajahnee Birch, punched her ticket to the finals of the 400 hurdle race earning an automatic qualifier with a 56.96 second-place finish in heat two of the event.
Valerie Reina was the first Razorback to put points on the board following an outstanding race in the 10K. The Tontitown, Arkansas, native navigated the strenuous distance efficiently making the most out of a last lap kick to move from the fifth position to third collecting six points for her performance.
On Deck For Day Two
• 9:00 a.m. Heptathlon (long jump, javelin throw and 800)
• 6:30 p.m. 100 Hurdles (prelims)
• 7:10 p.m. 1,500 (prelims)
• 7:30 p.m. Shot put
• 7:55 p.m. 400 (prelims)
• 8:45 p.m. 100 (prelims)
• 9:45 p.m. 3,000 steeplechase (finals)
Women’s Team Standings: 1. Georgia (12); 2. Ole Miss (11); 3. Tennessee (10); 3. Kentucky (10); 5. Missouri (8); 6. Alabama (6); 6. Arkansas (6); 8. Florida (5); 8. Texas A&M (5); 8. Auburn (5).
Meet information and live results can be found at the outdoor championships central.
A live broadcast of the competition on SEC Network+ will be available Friday, May 13 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 14 at 3:00 p.m.
The championship will also air Sunday, May 15 via tape delay from 2-4 p.m.
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.