AUSTIN, Texas – Juniors Tiavannia Thompson and Michelle Martin added themselves to the University of Arkansas track team’s ever growing list of NCAA Mideast Regional Qualifiers, when they qualified in the 100-meter hurdles and high jump at the 79th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, on Friday.
Running in the eighth of nine heats in the 100 hurdles, Thompson posted a career best time in the race to finish second in her heat. Prior to Friday afternoon’s run, Thompson had only clocked a season best of 14.15, but relished in the Austin heat to guarantee her ticket to Knoxville, Tenn., for the regional championship.
“I’m really proud of Tiavannia,” Arkansas associate head coach Rolando Greene said. “She has improved steadily over the past five months and for her to get this should really give her the confidence to go even faster. She has a great work ethic and I really believe that she can go much faster by the time the SEC and regional championships arrive.”
Martin had been stuck at 5 feet, eight inches for the entire indoor track season, but finally eclipsed the barrier that had kept her stagnant for more than two months. Clean on her first two jumps of the competition, Martin moved to the NCAA provisional standard and flew over the bar to get her season and career best jump. At 5-10, Martin came very close to improving again, but just touched the bar on a pair of occasions giving her second-place at the meet.
“What a jump,” Arkansas assistant Bryan Compton said. “Michelle has been knocking on the door for months now and to finally see her get over that bar should be a precursor of things to come.”
Also posting regional marks were Arkansas’ 4×100 and 4×400-meter relay teams. The shorter relay dropped their season best time by three-tenths of a second to 45.20 from 45.55, while the longer squad lopped five seconds off their season best from 3:41.27 to 3:36.13. Both teams improved their lane assignments at the regional championship with the efforts, but just missed the finals in each event.
Rounding out the Lady Razorback contingent on Friday were a host of field event personnel. In the javelin, junior Carly Bloomfield just missed the NCAA regional mark when she threw the implement 140-5, two feet shy of the qualifier. Another improvement for the transfer, Bloomfield has gotten better with each of her three competitions this spring and could post a qualifier in the near future. Sophomores Michelle Rossio and Danielle O’Reilly finished eighth and 13th in their events, the discus and pole vault with marks of 147-6 and 11-11 ¾. Rossio’s mark is a season best for the transfer from Michigan State.
Arkansas’ distance team also got into the action on Friday with the steeplechase and was led by Caroline Peyton who finished sixth overall with a time of 10:54.87. Peyton nearly hit the NCAA regional mark of 10:50.25, but a slow start kept her from the mark. Junior Laura Kerr also competed in the race, finishing eighth at 11:16.09.
The Lady Razorbacks conclude action at the Texas Relays on Saturday with the women’s pole vault. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.