FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas Lady Razorback Katie Stripling set a school record in the pole vault at Friday night’s Arkansas Twilight at John McDonnell Field. Stripling cleared the best height in the nation and the SEC this season.
"For Katie Stripling to rebound from the weather disaster at Drake Relays and move into the national lead is really special," head coach Lance Harter said. "That’s a new school record and it gave her a lot of confidence. Tara Diebold also jumped well and she’s coming back from an ankle injury. We are getting some stability out of our vault crew again."
Stripling, a sophomore from Jonesboro, Ark., cleared 14-2 to place second in the pole vault. A personal best for Stripling, she placed second only to former Lady’Back and professional jumper April Steiner, who held the school record of 14-0 Stripling replaced.
"I didn’t even know it was the school record until after I cleared it," Stripling said. "Everything went really well today. I made a lot of clearances on my first attempt until the bar got to the PR heights. I just gave it a chance and it worked out for me."
Also in the pole vault, Tara Diebold cleared a personal-best height of 13-2.25 and improved her regional-qualifying mark. She finished third in the event. Kristen Keith finished seventh, clearing 12-7.5, and Sarah Landau was eight (12-0.75).
After clocking her first regional-qualifying time of the season at the John McDonnell Invitational, Paige Farrell blistered the track, even faster this time, with an 800-meter time of 2:05.53. It’s her best time of the season and nearly matches her career best (2:05.35). She ranks third in the SEC and ninth in the nation.
"It feels good to be back," Farrell said. "It was a great time but I still have room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction and it’s my senior year so there is no better time to do it. My confidence feels good going into SECs. Running 2:05 today felt really good. It felt like the old me."
"Paige Farrell is probably the story of the day," Hater said. "She has been knocking on the door during training but just hadn’t carried it over into a meet yet. Today was huge for her and now she just needs to be consistent. If she runs consistently, she’s going to be a force."
Shelise Williams punched her ticket to the NCAA Mideast Championships in the 400 meters. She finished third in the event with a personal-best and a regional-qualifying time of 54.03. Courtney Brown placed fourth with a time of 54.65, just off the regional-qualifying time of 54.61.
Jillian Rosen set another personal-best in the 1,500 meters. She clocked her first regional-qualifying time, a 4:27.06, to finish second. Rosen was the runner-up to former Lady’Back and professional Christin Wurth-Thomas, who ran a 4:12.70 to win the race.
"Jillian Rosen had a nice PR in the 1,500 meters and got the regional-qualifying mark," Harter said. "I think some really positive things happened today for us and it helps our confidence going into SECs."
Arkansas’ 4×400-meter nearly clocked a season best with their time of 3:38.54. Brown, Williams, Farrell and Jennifer Fall combined for a third-place finish and another regional-qualifying time.
Next up for the Lady’Backs will be the SEC Championships in Auburn, Ala. For complete results of the Arkansas Twilight, visit www.ladybacks.com.