FAYETTEVILLE – Tina Sutej closed out the Arkansas Twilight with a school record in the pole vault as the No. 8 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team wrapped its home schedule Friday evening at John McDonnell Field. The Razorbacks finished the night with nine event wins, including the school record by Sutej and a top-10 national mark in the triple jump by Shantel Thompson.
"All away around, we had outstanding performances and the school record is a bonus," head coach Lance Harter said. "It seemed like everything we touched tonight turned gold. Tonight gives us a lot of positive momentum going into next week, the kids are excited and now it’s just a matter of executing at the SEC Championships."
Sutej clinched her 12th consecutive win of the season with her clearance at 14-2. With the victory in hand, she went on to clear 14-5.5 before establishing the new school record at 14-9.5. With the mark, she replaced her own school mark of 14-9 which she had cleared on two previous occasions, including earlier this year at Texas Relays. Sutej also set the John McDonnell Field facility record with her effort; the previous record of 14-9 was set in 2007 by former Razorback April Steiner.
Danielle Nowell finished fourth in the pole vault competition with a clearance of 12-9.5, a new personal best for the Razorback freshman. Megan Weller finished the day with a day’s best mark of 11-9.75, good for ninth overall.
Thompson won the triple jump by nearly two feet with a mark of 43-7.25, a personal-best leap by almost eight inches. The jump came on her second attempt of the competition. The Razorback senior passed on her final two attempts with the victory in hand. Based on jumps entering the weekend, Thompson moves into the No. 7 spot in the NCAA.
In the first race on the track, Arkansas came away with a win in the 4×100-meter relay. The team of Gwendolyn Flowers, Regina George, Ivanique Kemp and Shelise Williams passed the baton around the track in a season-best time of 44.62. The Razorbacks’ previous best of the season of 44.80 came at the Arkansas Spring Invitational in April.
Arkansas placed five inside the top 11 of the 400 meters, led by personal-best efforts from George, Whitney Jones and Martine Borge. The winning time for George of 52.57 surpassed her previous best of 52.60 which she ran last season at the NCAA West Prelim in Austin. Jones finished fourth in 53.15; Borge was eighth in 54.94 while Bethany Hyter and Rachel Werner finished 10th and 11th, respectively.
Ivanique Kemp led a trio of qualifiers for the 100-meter hurdles final with a preliminary performance of 13.17, a personal-best time. She was the top qualifier with Brittany Hyter second in a time of 13.32 and Breeana Coleman fifth in a personal-best time of 13.53. In the finals, Kemp came through with a second-place showing and Hyter ran a personal-best time of 13.29, good for fourth. Coleman finished fifth.
"Ivy always had that in her," associate head coach Rolando Greene said. "We just had to put the right race together. It came at the right time, just before the SEC Championships, so I’m excited to see what we’ll do going into the conference meet. It was a nice, relaxed atmosphere and overall, we had a great meet. Across the board, we had a great meet with kids performing well. This is a great confidence booster going into the toughest meet of the season."
The Razorbacks swept the top four spots in the 800 meters with all five entries in the event posting personal bests. Kristen Gillespie won the race in a time of 2:06.78 and was followed, in order, by Jillian Rosen (2:07.62), Paige Johnston (2:07.71) and Samantha Learch (2:08.14). Keri Wood rounded out the team’s efforts with a 2:13.89, good for ninth place overall.
Flowers returned to the track with a personal-best showing in the 100 meters. She clocked in at 11.63 to win the event while Coleman was third in a time of 11.99, another personal best and the first sub-12 second result of her Razorback career.
Having started their day with a win in the sprint relay, the Razorbacks closed out action on the track with a victory in the 4×400-meter relay. The team of Werner, Leah Orley, Borge and Williams had a winning time of 3:41.44. Borge gave her team the lead on her third leg and Williams eased around the track to finish more than five seconds ahead of Kansas.
In the 400-meter hurdles, Hyter used a late charge after the final barrier to cross in first place with a time of 1:00.03. Orley finished fourth with a time of 1:03.59. Natanya Luther and Cali George were the Razorbacks’ top performers in the 1,500 meters with personal-best times of 4:28.98 and 4:34.43, respectively.
Rebecca Gorden recorded a personal best on her way to winning the javelin. On her fifth attempt of the day, Gorden unleashed a throw of 136-6. She finished the day with two throws that went beyond her previous best, a mark of 135-11 which was set two weeks ago at the John McDonnell Invitational.
In other field results, Kirsten Hesseltine and Orley finished fifth and seventh, respectively, in the high jump. Hesselltine was one of three competitors with 5-4.25 as their finishing height, while Orley cleared 5-2.25 in preparation for next week’s heptathlon at the SEC Championships.
The Razorbacks now enter the championship portion of their 2011 outdoor season. The SEC Championships will be held May 12-15 at the Spec Towns Track in Athens, Ga. The remainder of the season also includes the NCAA West Prelims (May 26-28) in Eugene, Ore., and the NCAA Championships (June 8-11) in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information and continued coverage, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: Arkansas Twilight Final Results.pdf