NEW YORK – Senior Stephanie Irwin came into the 2008 New Balance Collegiate Invitational looking for her third consecutive pole vault championship at the meet, but despite her best efforts and what would have been a meet record, the University of Arkansas track pole vaulter would finish third with a NCAA provisional mark of 13-5 ¼.
Irwin broke the meet record with her clearance, but finished behind Kate Sultanova of Kansas who became the first woman to clear 14 feet in the Armory’s premier event. Also in the event, sophomore Katie Stripling cleared the NCAA provisional standard of 12-11 ½ and freshman Tara Diebold was just off her season best with a make of 12-5 ½.
“We had some very solid performances today,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “The vault was very good as was the mile and the 800 meters. We came into the weekend looking to tune up before the Tyson Invitational and I believe that we did just that. Now we need to continue to make improvements since the SEC and NCAA Championships are right around the corner.
Junior Lauren Lewis continued to have a fantastic weekend when she dipped under the five minute mark in the mile with a time of 4:59.63. Lewis dropped her season best by 20 seconds on Saturday, less than 24 hours after winning the 1,000 meters with a career best time. While not quite her personal best in the mile, Lewis’ mark showed the Arkansas coaching staff that she is prepared for the championship season where she was very effective last season.
Also racing in the mile were seniors Caroline Peyton and Tiffany Redlarczyk who combined with Lewis made it an Arkansas sweep when it came to season best performances. Peyton dropped four seconds off her season low and Redlarczyk shaved one.
The 800 meter run saw a solid accomplishment from senior Paige Farrell who continues to lop time off her season best. For the fourth consecutive time, Farrell cut into her season best time and brought it to a solid 2:10.91 to finish 11th overall. Teammate Janine Davis also ran well although just off her season best when she clocked out at 2:09.77 for fifth place.
The Lady Razorbacks rounded out the final day of the New Balance with good times in the 400 meters with Shelise Williams (54.59) and Tominque Boatright (55.33). Although not season bests, the duo ran well enough to prepare themselves for the Lady Razorback relay.
The Lady Razorbacks return to the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville next weekend for the Tyson Invitational. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.com.