PHILADELPHIA – Sophomore Paige Farrell’s anchor leg of 2:08 in the sprint medley relay highlighted the Lady Razorback’s day at the 112th-running of the prestigious Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Penn., for the Arkansas Lady Razorback track team on Friday.
Running in the second heat of three, Arkansas’ team of Jessica Cousins, Lakeisha Martin, Sasha Rolle and Farrell took command of their race from the outset and never looked back as they easily defeated the likes of Florida, Georgetown and others in their heat. For the competition, Arkansas finished sixth.
“I’m really proud of them,” Arkansas associate head coach Rolando Greene said. “They went right after it and did exactly what we talked about and that was get out front. Jessica got us off to a good start and Paige ran a great anchor.”
Coming out of the blocks, Cousins was the first to round the turn and prepare for the first exchange which she made nearly flawless with Martin who looked like she was shot out of a cannon on the back stretch. Martin looked even better than her teammate as she rounded turns three and four and even made a push on the homestretch to give the stick to Rolle well out in front of the competition.
With Georgetown and Florida in tow, Rolle hit the break point with a 10-meter lead on the competition, a lead she would maintain, and then increase as she got to the 300-meter portion of her 400-meter leg. Farrell took the baton for the anchor and cruised around the track with little competition, anchoring in a near career-best time for 800 meters, 2:08, just one second off her personal best.
In the 100-meter hurdles, junior Tiavannia Thompson ran out of lane seven in the preliminaries of the competition, taking sixth in her heat which ended up being the fastest of the three contested. Starting well, Thompson came out of the blocks and reached the first hurdle behind only the eventual winner, Ronetta Alexander of South Carolina. Not clipping any hurdle, Thompson’s form looked excellent as she navigated through the race and crossed the finish with a time of 13.89. Thompson’s mark was the 13th fastest out of 29 competitors.
The Lady Razorback’s competition at the Penn Relays was concluded with the 4×1,500-meter run where the team of Tiffany Redlarczyk, Caroline Peyton, Denise Bargiachi and Kelly Vrshek finished 11th overall with a time of 19:01.21. One of the youngest squads on the track, the team was comprised of two sophomores and two freshmen, but despite their youth, kept up with some of the nation’s top distance teams and runners for most of the 13-lap race.
The Lady Razorbacks ended their Penn Relays competition, but are far from done for the weekend. Three Arkansas distance runners compete at the Cardinal Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif., Sunday night looking for additional NCAA regional qualifiers. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.