GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Junior Katie Stripling, a member of the Arkansas Razorback women’s track and field team, proved to be the Southeastern Conference’s top pole vaulter on the final day of competition at the SEC Outdoor Championships on Sunday.
The Razorback scored 96.5 points for a fourth-place finish. Florida won the team title with 135.5 points. LSU was second with 113 points and Tennessee rounded out the top three with 106 points.
"We were trying to score 100 points and we thought that would put us in the top three," head coach Lance Harter said. "We thought that was possible with the manpower we had here. The disqualification in the 4×400-meter relay was unfortunate. We really had a great day. Katie Stripling, Shelise Williams and Catherine White really exceeded our expectations. They are such great competitors. I think our crew is in a great position to do well at regionals and prepare for the NCAA Championships."
Arkansas won four individual titles from Catherine White (5K/10K), Stripling (pole vault) and Etienne Chaplin (heptathlon). Additionally, sophomore Shelise Williams added a runner-up finish in the 400 meters and sophomore Jillian Rosen earned bronze in the 1,500 meters.
Stripling made SEC history on Sunday. Winning her third conference pole vault title and second outdoors, she cleared 14-5.25. Arkansas has now won three-straight titles in the outdoor pole vault (2007-09). Her clearance is an Arkansas record, an SEC meet record, a personal best and is the new NCAA leader. Stripling now holds all five of the top clearances on Arkansas’ all-time list.
"It was really exciting to win the SEC Championship," Stripling said. "I didn’t have a good meet at the SEC Indoor Championships so I really wanted to come back here and defend my title."
After clinching the title with a first-attempt clearance at 13-8.5, Stripling moved the bar to 14-5.25. She cleared it easily on her first attempt. She then moved the bar to 14-7.25 where she had three solid attempts but was unable to clear it.
Stripling led a 1-4-8 finish for Arkansas in the event. Sophomore Tara Diebold finished tied for fourth with her height of 13-1.5. Senior Sarah Landau was eighth, clearing the same height.
Sophomore Catherine White won her third SEC title and her second in outdoor track with a victory in the 5,000 meters. She clocked a time of 16:29.72 to take the tape and earn her third All-SEC honor. White won Arkansas’ eighth SEC 5K title and the first since Andreina Byrd’s 2002 win.
"My plan was to just kind of sit and kick it for the last 1,000 meters and see what I had," White said. "Basically, I just had to go for it at the end. When you can see the finish like that, you can almost pull anything out."
White led a 1-3-5 finish for Arkansas in the event. Senior Denise Bargiachi was third with her time of 16:36.27 and senior Christine Kalmer was fifth with a clocking of 16:46.69.
Williams had a clear lead coming off the final turn in the 400-meter final but locked up in the final home stretch to earn a runner-up finish. She clocked a personal-best time of 52.41. Junior Karen Thomas finished eighth in the quarter mile with her time of 55.75.
Rosen clocked a PR and had an SEC career-best finish in the 1,500-meter finals. She clocked a time of 4:221.58 to take bronze. Freshman Samantha Learch finished eighth with her time of 4:29.51.
The 4×400-meter relay was disqualified for impeding and the 4×100-meter relay was not able to get the baton around.
The SEC Outdoor Championships highlight show will air on Fox Sports, Saturday, May 23, 5-7 p.m. CST. For more information and complete results, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com or GatorZone.com.
Shelise Williams, 400 meters, 2nd, 52.41
Karen Thomas, 400 meters, 8th, 55.75
Jillian Rosen, 1,500 meters, 3rd, 4:21.58
Samantha Learch, 1,500 meters, 8th, 4:29.51
Megan Jackson, 3,000-meter steeplechase, 3rd, 10:37.61
Cali George, 3,000-meter steeplechase, 8th, 11:22.32
Catherine White, 5,000 meters, 1st, 16:29.72
Denise Bargiachi, 5,000 meters, 3rd, 16:36.27
Christine Kalmer, 5,000 meters, 5th, 16:46.69
Catherine White, 10,000 meters, 1st, 35:07.50
Denise Bargiachi, 10,000 meters, 2nd, 35:13.64
Christine Kalmer, 10,000 meters, 6th, 36:00.62
Etienne Chaplin, long jump, 5th, 19-4.25
Whitney Jones, long jump, 6th, 19-4
Katie Stripling, pole vault, 1st, 14-5.25
Tara Diebold, pole vault, T4th, 13-1.5
Sarah Landau, pole vault, 8th, 13-1.5
Etienne Chaplin, heptathlon, 1st, 5,594 points