FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 6 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team closed out its weekend at the Virginia Tech Invitational with three event wins Saturday. Combined with their respective performances Friday, the Razorbacks come away from Blacksburg, Va., with eight victories, two school records and an NCAA automatic qualifier.
"We had another good day to wrap up the weekend," head coach Lance Harter said. "We really preached the importance of pushing through the heavy and sore legs during this early training phase of the season. We knew we’d have some tired legs but we wanted to see a good competitive spirit and we did. Now as we get into the season, we’ll start to freshen up and see faster times as we head toward the SEC Championships."
The Razorbacks wrapped the two-day competition with a first-place performance in the 4×400-meter relay. With a winning time of 3:36.69, the foursome of Regina George, Gwendolyn Flowers, Whitney Jones and Shelise Williams combined to finish nearly four seconds ahead of the second-place team from North Carolina. Arkansas’ time is an improvement from its first race of the season and stands as the third-best time in the nation this season.
In the first event of the day, Tina Sutej collected her second NCAA automatic qualifier in as many weeks. She won the seeded section of the pole vault with a clearance of 14-3.25. Tara Diebold was one of four competitors to clear 12-9.5 and finished tied for second on misses. The Razorbacks swept the weekend’s pole vault competition with Danielle Nowell winning the unseeded section Friday evening.
George picked up her first individual win of the season with a victory in the 400 meters. She crossed in a time of 54.27, an improvement of her already-No. 2 time in the nation. Williams is the current national leader (54.16) in the event. Flowers finished third in the 200 meters with a time of 24.36, a personal best.
Arkansas turned in a 2-3-4 showing in the 800 meters led by who finished with a time of 2:06.75, the fastest in the NCAA this season. She was followed by Paige Johnston (2:11.53) and Martine Borge (2:13.31). The race featured another close finish between Brown and winner Treniere Moser, an eight-time All-American during her collegiate career at Georgetown. The two also paired up for a tightly contested race Friday in the mile, won by Brown.Stephanie Brown
Kristen Gillespie and Cali George were the top collegiate finishers in the 3,000 meters with a fourth- and fifth-place finish, respectively. Gillespie posted a time of 9:49.02 while George shaved 11 seconds off her personal best, clocking in at 9:53.56. Ashley Isham finished second in her heat of the 3K with a time of 10:30.09, good for 10th overall.
In other field event results, Jones had a leap of 19-1 to place third in the long jump. Kirsten Hesseltine finished eighth in the high jump, clearing the bar set at 5-5 in her second collegiate meet.
The Razorbacks will take a weekend away from competition in preparation for the Razorback Invitational, set for Jan. 28-29 at the Randal Tyson Track Center. For more details and continued coverage, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.