FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas Lady Razorback senior Penny Splichal will finish her outdoor track eligibility on a high note next week as she was added on Thursday afternoon to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 10,000-meter run.
Following the release of the championship field on Tuesday evening, Arkansas’ coaching staff knew that Splichal was one of the next athletes eligible for the championship. The NCAA follows a strict guideline of allowing 544 student-athletes per gender to compete at the NCAA outdoor meet keeping Arkansas’ 10k runner on the outside looking in, but a phone call on Thursday by the NCAA Track Championships committee added Splichal to the field of athletes.
“It seems like every time we get a phone call these days something good happens,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “This is a great way for Penny to end her outdoor career, with a trip to the NCAA Championships. We knew that she was close and probably the next one in line for a bid to the meet.”
Splichal ran a season best time of 34:18.47 at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays on April 15, a mark that stood as the 33rd best in the nation heading into the NCAA meet next week. The NCAA Championship field was cut off at 27 athletes on Tuesday with the final admitted mark coming from Lauren King of Notre Dame at 34:11.78. King was 31st on the NCAA list prior to the regional championships.
For Splichal, her opportunity to compete at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and at the Sacramento State track is not her first time. She was a NCAA Championships qualifier in the same event in 2003, the last time the championships were held on the track, and missed an opportunity to compete in 2004 because of injury. A Southeastern Conference champion and multi-time scorer at the SEC meet, Splichal is seeking the first all-America honor of her career when she competes on Thursday, June 9, at 10:00 p.m. pacific.
The Lady Razorbacks get started at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Wednesday, June 8 and compete through Saturday, June 11. For more information about Arkansas women’s track and field or about Lady Razorback athletics, visit www.ladybacks.com.