FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 6 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team closed out its weekend at the Tyson Invitational with a handful of personal bests among the nation’s best. The Razorbacks will now transition into the championship section of the 2011 indoor season.
"We had a very productive weekend," head coach Lance Harter said. "We decided to focus on open events because we had our mile relay and DMR qualify in the last two weeks. This weekend we concentrated on the individual events and we saw the product of that, obviously, with Tina Sutej (in the pole vault) and now we probably have three quarter milers that could advance to the NCAA Championships. We also had a big breakthrough in mile with Kristen Gillespie and we had Stephanie Brown run her fastest 800 meters of the season."
In the day’s first event, Regina George and Whitney Jones ran to personal bests in the 200 meters. George finished 14th overall in a time of 23.72 and Jones won her heat to finish 18th overall, clocking in at 23.87. Gwendolyn Flowers rounded out the Razorbacks’ top-30 performers in the event with a time of 24.23, good for a win in her heat and 27th overall.
Putting together its first relay work of the weekend, Arkansas’ foursome of Flowers, Jones, Brittany Hyter and Shelise Williams eased into a fourth-place overall finish. Collectively, the group had a time of 3:36.01 and finished second in its heat.
Makeba Alcide and Kirsten Hesseltine tied for third place in the college section of the high jump. Both posted a 5-6 clearance, sharing their position with Kristen Rice of Oklahoma. The mark is the second best of the season for Hesseltine. Getting in work for her pentathlon duties, Leah Orley had a day’s best throw of 35-1.25 in the shot put, good for 20th place.
Running in the college section of the 3,000 meters, Rachel Carpino finished in 12th place overall with a time of 10:31.24. The race marked the season debut for the Razorback freshman. Shantel Thompson was the team’s lone competitor in the triple jump and came away with a 15th-place finish with a 39-7.75 mark.
In former Razorback action, Christin Wurth-Thomas put on a world-leading performance in the invitational section of the 3,000 meters. Paced by Stephanie Brown through the first third of the race, Wurth-Thomas posted a time of 8:43.79 to establish the No. 1 time in the world, a new meet record and Randal Tyson Track Center record. She surpassed the previous world best by nearly six seconds.
During the meet, the newly resurfaced track at the Randal Tyson Track Center was recognized as "The Home to the Fastest Indoor Track in the World" in a ceremony with University of Arkansas Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long, Mondo representative Kirk Sandifer and members of the Razorback track and field coaching staffs.
The Tyson Invitational was the final preparation for the Arkansas prior to the 2011 SEC Championships which will be held Feb. 25-27 at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. For more details and continued coverage, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.