Catching up with @KHesselt Senior high jumper Kirsten Hesseltine qualified for nationals with a clean jump through 5-7 at the 2014 West Preliminary, becoming the ninth field event on the women’s team to qualify for the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore. The Springdale, Ark. native talks about the success of her team and the road ahead.
Eugene-Bound! Hesseltine is headed the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the second-consecutive season. “It’s so exciting. There was a little pressure because all of Coach Compton’s girls have qualified — every single one of them. I knew I had to get through — I had no choice! That motivated me a lot, too. On the last bar, so many girls weren’t getting it, I saw that as my opportunity. That motivated me even more to get that bar — Coach Compton’s reaction, hugging me and showing how proud he was, made it that much better.”
Compton’s Crew All nine events coached by Bryan Compton punched their ticket to Eugene. Hesseltine will join the four pole vaulters: Sandi Morris, Danielle Nowell, Megan Zimlich and Ariel Voskamp, as well as Amethyst Boyd (javelin) Tamara Myers (long jump & triple jump) and Alex Gochenour (heptathlon). “It’s so great because those girls are my best friends. To get to go to nationals with my best friends, it doesn’t get much better than that. We work so hard side-by-side all season, it’s wonderful to be able to make the trip together. It says a lot about Coach Compton, he is so great. Year-after-year he sends so many athletes to nationals, it’s a blessing to be a part of his “crew”. He pushes us, he encourages us. He practices us all together, which helps us even more because we’re able to support each other. We want it, and even better — he wants it for us.”
SECs to NCAAs Hesseltine finished third at the SEC Championships, helping her team to its first SEC Outdoor Championship since 2004. She then had a perfect performance at the NCAA West Preliminary to send her to Eugene. In addition, her teammates finished 1-2-3-7 in pole vault, and scored in all other field events, including a third-place finish in the heptathlon. The Razorbacks enter the NCAA Championships with the second-most entries in the nation. “It’s so exciting because there are so many of us. I keep thinking about how many girls we qualified and we have a chance for some serious scoring. If we all go in and compete to the best of our ability, we have a really good shot. Not many teams have the numbers we do, that is providing some extra motivation for us.”
@RazorbackSB: Record-Setting Output Reflected in Final NCAA Stats With the end of the 2014 college softball season come the final NCAA statistical rankings which find the University of Arkansas softball team featured among the top 50 in six categories. The Razorbacks have top-50 rankings in scoring, triples, slugging percentage, home runs, batting average and double plays.
Scoring | 11th – 6.53 runs per game One season after breaking the 300-run barrier for the first time in program history, the Razorbacks extended the school record with 359 runs scored during the 2014 season–55 more runs than the 2013 total. Arkansas scored at least eight runs in 23 games during the season including 13 double-digit performances and two games with a school-record 20 runs.
Triples | t-30th – 0.25 triples per game Nine different Razorbacks registered at least one triple during the 2014 season including a team-leading four off the bat of sophomore Stephanie Canfield. Arkansas’ 14 triples tie the school record also held by the 1999 team and are the most by the program since the 2011 season.
Slugging Percentage | 35th – .484 In another case of resetting a one-year-old record, the Razorbacks’ .484 slugging percentage eclipsed the .470 mark set by the 2013 team. Of the team’s 432 hits during the season, 134 of them went for extra bases with 66 doubles, 54 home runs and 14 triples. Fifteen (15) of the 18 Razorbacks that had an at-bat during the season tallied at least one extra-base hit.
Home Runs | 41st – 0.98 home runs per game The Razorbacks finished the season with 54 home runs, good for the fifth-highest season total in program history. Twelve (12) different players slugged at least one home run. Junior Devon Wallace led the team with 12 home runs in becoming just the second player in program history with 10+ home runs in three different seasons. Arkansas hit multiple home runs in 16 games during the year.
Batting Average | 45th – .304 This year’s team was the first in program history to finish the season with a batting average of .300 or higher. Arkansas’ .304 batting average surpassed the previous record by 21 points, another one-year-old mark set by the 2013 squad. The offense’s 432 hits is the fifth-highest season total in program history. Four Razorbacks hit at least .300 during the year with a team-leading .353 mark from senior Clarisa Navarro.
Double Plays | 47th — 0.38 double plays per game The defense turned 21 double plays, marking the seventh time a Razorback team has had at least 20 in one season. The last team to do so was the 2009 squad. Arkansas turned a double play in 19 games during the year with two in one game against No. 2 Tennessee (March 15) and No. 8 Kentucky (April 18). Individually, junior Devon Wallace finished second in the NCAA with 1.05 walks per game, third with 59 total walks and 17th with a .534 on-base percentage. During the year, she became the all-time SEC leader with 190 career walks. Arkansas established or tied single-season school records in batting average, triples, RBI, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs scored, walks and sacrifice flies.