FAYETTEVILLE – Sophomore Tina Sutej made history in the pole vault for No. 6 Arkansas Razorback women’s track and field on day two of the SEC Indoor Championships, at the Randal Tyson Track Center, on Saturday.
After five events scored, Florida leads the team race with 50 points, Arkansas is second with 30 points and Tennessee is third with 25 points.
"I think we are in a great position," head coach Lance Harter said. "We had a great day in the pole vault. Bryan Compton has been saying all season this was coming. Tina Sutej was phenomenal and Katie Stripling went through all her big poles. To have four advance in the mile, that’s going to be a great final for us. I’m happy to see Whitney Jones scoring points for us in the long jump. She plays a vital role on our mile relay, too."
Sutej won the pole vault with a clearance of 14-7.5 and led a 1-3-5 finish for Arkansas in the event. Her clearance is a personal best, the NCAA leader, the Arkansas school record, the SEC Championship meet record and betters her existing Slovenian National record. She also made three good attempts at 14-10.75, the collegiate record.
"I’m so excited to win the event and clear 14-7.5," Sutej said. "I didn’t except this at all. I felt really good all day jumping. I got in a good rhythm. I want to keep the ball rolling for NCAAs. My teammates were a great support system today while I was jumping."
Senior Katie Stripling finished third with a height of 14-1.75. Senior Janice Keppler was fifth with a clearance of 13-6.5. Keppler’s clearance is an improved NCAA provisional qualifier.
"We knew our crew had this is them," assistant coach Bryan Compton said. "They got a good rhythm going and went with it. They were jumping well from the start. This is a great momentum builder for heading in to NCAAs."
In the women’s long jump, sophomore Whitney Jones was fourth (19-11), junior Shantel Thompson was eighth (19-7) and freshman Caroline McCombs was 17th (17-11.75).
In the 400-meter prelims, Arkansas advanced two to Sunday’s final. Junior Shelise Williams was second at 52.97 and freshman Regina George was seventh at 53.98. In the 800 meters, freshman Stephanie Brown will run in Sunday’s final after finishing second in the prelims. She clocked the second-fastest time of 2:06.08.
The Hogs will have four runners in the mile finals. Sophomore Kristen Gillespie was third with a time of 4:48.70, freshman Taylor Johnson was sixth at 4:50.57, sophomore Samantha Learch was eighth in 4:50.62 and freshman Natanya Luther was ninth in 4:52.94.
The ESPNU championship highlight show will air Thurs., March 11 at 8 p.m. CST on ESPNU. SEC Weekly TV will also be devoting a show to the championship. SEC Weekly TV airs Tuesdays at 5 p.m. CST on ESPNU and repeats a few times during the week. Some of the clips from SEC Weekly TV are also posted on SECSports.com.