BATON ROUGE, La. – With the help of 17 points in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and a second-place result for Tina Sutej in the pole vault, the No. 11 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team sits in third place with 43.5 points after day three of the 2012 Southeastern Conference Championships in Baton Rouge, La. Grace Heymsfield was the conference runner-up in the steeplechase. In the preliminaries of the 400 meters, Regina George clocked a time of 51.79, the second fastest in school history.
Running in the final event of the day, the Razorback trio of Heymsfield, Cali George and Shannon Klenke posted a 2-3-6 finish, respectively, to add to the team’s total. Heymsfield was the team’s top performer in second place with a time of 10:17.81. The Elkins, Ark., native improved upon her 14th-place finish in the event from a season ago.
George, in her final conference meet, established a new personal best with a time of 10:20.48, good for third place. Klenke finished in sixth place and knocked more than 13 seconds off her previous best with a time of 10:31.23. For the second-straight day, the Razorbacks collected double-digit points in one event. Arkansas had 14 points Friday night in the 10,000 meters.
"I didn’t feel great today but we got the points we needed to get," Heymsfield said. "Being at the conference championships is a big motivation because this is what we’ve been working for all season. It’s a big relief to get this done for the team."
In the pole vault, Sutej tied for the lead with a final clearance of 4.44m/14-6.75 but finished in second place with more misses during the competition. Of Sutej’s two losses over the past two seasons, both have been based on misses after clearing the final height. Danielle Nowell finished tied for eighth place with a clearance of 3.97m/13-0.25, worth 0.5 point for the team.
Saturday marked the final day of preliminary rounds and the Razorbacks qualified six runners into event finals. George led all qualifiers in the 400 meters with her breakout performance. It was the first time in her career to dip below 52 seconds. Based on times entering the weekend, George is currently ranked No. 2 in the NCAA. She will be joined in Sunday’s final by teammate Whitney Jones who finished eighth overall in the prelims with a time of 53.35.
The Razorbacks collected another pair of qualifiers in the 1,500 meters. Both Kristen Gillespie and Keri Wood grabbed automatic spots in the final by finishing in top three of their respective heats. Gillespie finished second in heat two with a time of 4:23.32 while Wood took the last auto spot in her heat with a third-place finish in 4:21.45.
Ivanique Kemp was the second-fastest qualifier in the 100-meter hurdles. The Razorback junior won heat one in 13.28 to secure a spot in Sunday’s final. She was followed closely by teammate Brittany Hyter who finished second in that heat with a time of 13.37. Hyter was fourth overall in the preliminary round. She is also set to run in the finals of the 400-meter hurdles Sunday.
The final day of competition begins at 1:35 p.m. (CT) for the Razorbacks with the finals of the triple jump. Through the first two days of preliminary action, the Razorbacks have qualified nine runners into Sunday’s finals spread among the 200 meters (1), 400 meters (2), 800 meters (1), 1500 meters (2), 100-meter hurdles (2) and 400-meter hurdles (1). There will also be scoring chances in the 5,000 meters and both relays.
Live coverage of the conference meet will air on ESPN3.com on Sunday from 3-7 p.m. Dwight Stones, Larry Rawson and Lewis Johnson will have the call of the action. A two-hour highlight show recapping the SEC Championships will air Wednesday, May 23, at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.
In addition to the ESPN3.com video schedule, meet coverage for the 2012 SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships will include live results and an interactive blog which will begin at 2:45 p.m. For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
100 Meters (prelim)12. Tiffany Hines – 11.65
400 Meters (prelim)1. Regina George – 51.79Q8. Whitney Jones – 53.35q 14. Gwendolyn Flowers – 54.4116. Chrishuna Williams – 54.6428. Rachel Werner – 56.05
1,500 Meters (prelim)6. Kristen Gillespie – 4:23.32Q7. Keri Wood – 4:21.45Q
100m Hurdles (prelim)2. Ivanique Kemp – 13.28Q4. Brittany Hyter – 13.37Q
3,000m Steeplechase (final)2. Grace Heymsfield – 10:17.81 [8 points]3. Cali George – 10:20.48 [6 points]6. Shannon Klenke – 10:31.23 [3 points]
High Jump (final)11. Makeba Alcide – 1.72m/5-7.7512. Kirsten Hesseltine – 1.67m/5-5.75
Pole Vault (final)2. Tina Sutej – 4.44m/14-6.75 [8 points]t8. Danielle Nowell – 3.97m/13-0.25 [0.5 point] 11. Megan Weller – 3.77m/12-4.5
Long Jump (final)9. Whitney Jones – 6.16m/20-2.515. Tamara Myers – 5.90m/19-4.2519. Makeba Alcide – 5.71m/18-9