FAYETTEVILLE – With two finishers in the top eight of the pentathlon, the No. 4 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team picked up six points on day one of the 2011 Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. Makeba Alcide finished the five-event competition with a personal-best 3,959 points, good for fourth place while Leah Orley was eighth with 3,604 points.
"We had a good start (to the SEC Championships) but sometimes you get greedy in these meets," head coach Lance Harter said. "I wish we had finished the 800 meters a little better. But Leah got herself into scoring position with her back against the wall and Makeba had a great day. The only PR she didn’t get was in the 800. It was a personal best as far as overall and it should put her on the bubble as far as nationals."
Alcide began the day with a seventh-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.83, worth 946 points. After the hurdles event, the top eight competitors were within 100 points of each other. Orley was 13th overall after the first event. She crossed the line with a time of 9.14 and 881 points.
The big breakthrough for Alcide came in the high jump where she surpassed her previous personal best with an event win. She cleared the first seven heights without a miss and went on to collect 966 points with a 5-10.5 clearance. With her display, Alcide moved past Precious Nwokey of Kentucky and held the lead by two points. Orley began to creep up the overall standings, moving into 10th after a 5-3.25 performance in the high jump.
In the third event of the competition, Alcide continued her strong outing with a personal-best throw in the shot put. She extended her overall lead to 77 points with a mark of 38-10.5 and a second-place finish in the event. Orley maintained her top-10 status with a 34-0.75 toss and 554 points.
Nwokey took control of the pentathlon with a big effort in the long jump, going over the 20-foot mark and taking the lead from Alcide. The Razorback had a day’s best long jump of 17-5.25 and trailed the leader by 183 points heading into the final race. Orley just missed an 18-foot mark with a measurement of 17-11, good for 688 points. She entered the 800 meters nearly 100 points out of scoring position.
Alcide and Orley finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the final event of the pentathlon to seal their final placing. Alcide clocked in at 2:25.44 and slipped from second to fourth place and five points for the Razorbacks’ team score. Adding a point for Arkansas, Orley moved up three spots in the overall standings with her time of 2:26.78 in the 800 meters.
"I had an almost-perfect day and had a good first half of the meet but didn’t finish well in the 800 which knocked me from second place to fourth," Alcide said. "Overall it was a personal best and a (St. Lucia) national record so that was good for me but I’m disappointed I didn’t get the national marker."
Alcide’s point total equals the fifth-best performance in school history. With her performance, she went past Elizabeth Everts’ total of 3,929 points from the 2003 season. Nwokey went on to earn the meet’s first title with her win in the pentathlon. Lucie Ondraschkova of Georgia and Ellen Wortham of Tennessee rounded out the top three.
Competition at the Randal Tyson Track Center continues Saturday with the women’s long jump at 1 p.m. (CT). The weight throw competition will be held at 10 a.m. at Walker Pavilion. In addition to the long jump and weight throw, a winner will be determined Saturday in the 3,000 meters and high jump. To follow the weekend’s action access the 2011 SEC Indoor Championships Central page at ArkansasRazorbacks.com for a video stream, live results and interactive blog.