NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Led by a repeat championship from junior Maureen Scott in the steeplechase, the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track and field team moved into first place at the Southeastern Conference Championships in Nashville, Tenn., after the third day of competition.
Scott led a 1-3-6-7 finish by Lady Razorback athletes for 21 points, a score that let Arkansas leap frog Georgia for the top spot in the team standings. Arkansas now has 52.2 points with Georgia in second at 46.20. Tennessee is third with 32 followed closely by Auburn with 31 and LSU is fifth with 22.
“We had a great finish to an average day,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “We lost some points in some events, but came up big in the steeplechase. We picked up a pair of regional qualifiers, but more important were the 21 points. Even though we are in first, we still have to work, South Carolina is set up to have a big day tomorrow.”
In the steeplechase, Scott got out to an early lead and never looked back as she continued to execute over the varied barriers. Clocking a near season best of 10:27.29, her effort earned her the championship which she hoped to defend, but it was the effort of the rest of Arkansas’ contingent that was most impressive. Redshirt freshman Tiffany Redlarczyk clocked a 19 second personal best on way to a NCAA regional qualifier and a third-place finish at 10:37.97. Wrapping up the Lady Razorback scoring was sophomore Laura Kerr and senior Shiloh Whiting who finish sixth and seventh with times of 10:44.92 and 10:45.33, also regional qualifiers.
Arkansas’ other points on the day were tabulated by sophomore Michelle Martin who scored in her fourth SEC Championship in four attempts when she tied for sixth in the high jump with a clearance of five feet, five inches. The clearance on her first attempt led her to a stalemate with competitors from Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina.
What made the effort of all the Lady Razorbacks even more impressive on the day was the more than four hour thunderstorm delay that halted the beginning of all the running events and stopped several field events in mid-competition.
Earning a berth into finals action was senior Kasia Williams who looked very good on her way to the fastest qualifier in the 100-meter hurdles. Running a near season best of 13.18, she enters the finals on Sunday as one of the hurdlers to beat along with South Carolina’s Ronetta Alexander and Shevon Stoddart.
Wrapping up Arkansas’ qualifying was the 1,500-meter run where senior Erica Sigmont and freshman Dacia Barr each moved on to Sunday’s final. Sigmont had an easier day as she cruised to the finish as one of the auto qualifiers. Barr was also an auto qualifiers to the final but was forced to run nearly five seconds faster than her teammate to do it. Barr’s time of 4:30.85 is the sixth best of preliminary action, but is slower than her season best of 4:25.59.
Having perhaps the toughest day of any Lady Razorback was senior Beyonka McDowell. Following two days of competition in the heptathlon, McDowell returned to action in the 100-meter hurdles and long jump. Beginning the day with the long jump, McDowell leaped to 19-4 only to finish 11th overall, two spots out of finals competition. She came back several hours later in the hurdles and finished ninth, also one spot out of finals action.
Other Lady Razorbacks that saw action on Saturday included freshman Sydney Scarbrough and sophomore Lakeisha Martin in the 100-meter dash and freshman Tominque Boatright in the 400-meter dash.
The Lady Razorbacks conclude their quest for a fourth SEC Outdoor title on Sunday evening. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.