NCAA Mideast Regional: The gateway to the NCAA Championships, the Mideast Regional features teams from Louisiana to Wisconsin and Arkansas to Ohio in an attempt to claim spots to the NCAA Championships. The 2007 event is the fifth NCAA Regional Championship.
Arkansas at the Regional: The Lady Razorbacks have had success at the NCAA Regional Championships finishing among the top five three times in four competitions and never finishing worse than 10th.
Regional Champions: Arkansas has been awarded with three mideast regional champions over the past four years. The first regional title holder was April Steiner in the pole vault in 2003. She has been followed by the 4×100-meter relay (2004) and Aneita Denton in the 800 meters (2006).
Largest Squad: This spring the Lady Razorbacks qualified 23 student-athletes to the NCAA regional championships, the most ever in the five years of the competition. Due to injury and strategy, Arkansas will compete just 21 at the regional, one off its previous high of 22 set during the 2005 season. Also of note is the fact that Arkansas’s qualifiers come in 14 events.
Qualifying for Nationals: To qualify for the NCAA Championships individual athletes must finish among the top five in their event finals to guarantee a spot. To receive an at-large berth, athletes must be among the top eight at the regional. Relay teams work similar to the individual races, except that the cut off is top three teams for the auto and top five for consideration.
Last Year at the Regional Championships: The Lady Razorbacks had success at the 2006 NCAA Mideast Regional Championship in Knoxville, Tenn. Nine Lady Razorbacks earned a spot at the NCAA meet. As a team the Lady’Backs scored 22 points to finish 10th.
|NCAA Mideast Regional ChampionshipsKnoxville, Tenn. • May 26-27, 2006|
Second at the SEC Championships: Thanks to stellar performances across the board, the Lady Razorbacks finished second at the Southeastern Conference Championships two weeks ago. Dacia Barr and Jodi Unger each won SEC titles in the 1,500 and pole vault, respectively and two school records were broken. Arkansas’s point total of 110 was its best since the 2005 season.
Regional Schedule: The NCAA packs a big schedule into two days at the regional championships. Day one includes mostly preliminaries with six field event and one running event final. Day two (Saturday) is all finals beginning at 11:00 a.m. and continuing through 7:20 p.m.
Lady’Back Competitors: We mentioned before that Arkansas had its largest contingent of athletes at the 2007 mideast regional. The 21 athletes are competing in 14 events with the pole vault, steeplechase and 400 meters being big events as each showcases three competitors.
SEC Champions: After being shut out indoors for the first time in more than 20 years, the Lady Razorbacks came back outdoors to win two Southeastern Conference Championships. Dacia Barr won the 1,500 meters and Jodi Unger took the pole vault title. Both championships were the first of their respective careers and were season best marks.
Barr Claims First Title: After finishing second in three SEC Championship races, Dacia Barr nabbed her first career SEC title in the 1,500-meter run at the 2007 SEC Outdoor meet. Barr ran a career best 4:14.97 to take the championship and in the process became the first Lady’Back since 2005 to win the 1,500-meter title.
Second in the Nation: While she already held the second-best 1,500-meter time in the nation, Dacia Barr’s run at the SEC Championships gave merit to the gaudy time she posted at the Cardinal Invitational.
Fourth Best: Dacia Barr’s 1,500-meter run of 4:14.97 ranks as the fourth best time in Lady Razorback history and she is the second fastest woman to run for Arkansas. Barr trails only Christin Wurth on the all-time list and is chasing the school record of 4:10.49 which Wurth ran at the NCAA Championships in 2003.
Qualifying for Nationals: Dacia Barr is a veteran at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. She qualified for the meet last spring by taking a fifth-place finish at the regional championships. Barr probably could have finished higher, but ran fast enough to qualify, saving herself for the national championships.
Range: Something that we should point out about Dacia Barr is that she not only is a great 1,500-meter runner, but the girl has range. She was a regional qualifier at 800 and 5,000 meters as well as the 1,500 and finished third at the SEC Championships in the 5K outdoors, and second in the 3,000 indoors.
First and Last Title: Senior Jodi Unger finally got the signature victory in the pole vault that has eluded her for more than a year-and-a-half. She snatched the SEC Championship outdoors with a vault of 13-6 1/4 to lead a 1-2-3 Lady Razorback sweep of the event. Unger’s title is her first and unfortunately her last as she exhausts her eligibility following the NCAA Championships.
Next: Next up for Jodi Unger is to make a repeat performance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Unger finished fifth at the meet in 2006 with a vault of 13-7 1/4.
Tops in the Region: Jodi Unger’s pole vault of 13-6 1/4 at the SEC Championships placed her in a tie for the top spot in the region and moved her to a tie for seventh in the nation.
14 Feet: That is the mark that Unger has gone after all year. If she can clear 14 feet at any point this season, she could become just the second Lady Razorback to ever make the bar joining the elite company of April Steiner who did it both indoors and outdoors.
Three-Time all-American: Jodi Unger is one of three Lady Razorbacks to earn three all-America honors in the pole vault during her career. She is chasing April Steiner’s school record of four set between 2001-03.
Qualifiers: The Lady Razorbacks’ list of NCAA regional and provisional qualifiers is quite impressive as 37 times or marks made the standard. 23 individuals qualified in 17 of the 21 possible events making Arkansas’s 2007 squad one of the best all-around teams in school history.
Flip-Flopping the 400 Record: At the SEC Championships, Arkansas’s 400-meter record changed hands two times as Tominque Boatright and Jessica Cousins each claimed the mark. Cousins entered the meet with the record at 52.81 which she set earlier this spring. Boatright crushed that mark during SEC Championship prelims by running 52.68 only to have her record last for all of 23 hours before Cousins reclaimed the record at 52.06.
The 400 meters: The Lady Razorbacks dominated the 400-meter field at the SEC Championships by placing three in the event finals. Jessica Cousins, Tominque Boatright and Sasha Rolle each earned a spot in the finals thanks to times of 52.68, 53.01 and 53.07, respectively. The trio would also all score in the final to nab 13 points for the Lady Razorbacks in the event.
Strong 400 Leads to Impressive 4×4: With three Lady Razorbacks running in the finals of the 400, Arkansas’s 4×400-meter relay was given legitimacy. Already impressive, the relay team had one fresh leg and three runners racing for the second time that day and one competing in her fourth race of the weekend, but the quartet still ran a season best 3:31.91 to finish third.
Third Best: Arkansas’s 4×400-meter relay ran 3:31.91 at the SEC Championships to claim the third best time in school history. Arkansas’s only times that were faster came at the 2006 NCAA Championships in Sacramento, Calif. The school record is 3:28.78.
Raising the Bar: Jessica Cousins broke the Lady Razorback school record in the 400 meters in the first meet of the season. Since then she has run well, but it wasn’t until teammate Tominque Boatright broke her record that she came roaring back. After running an impressive 53.01 during the SEC Championship prelims, Cousins watched Boatright cruise to 52.68 and eclipse her school record. She came back with a vengeance in the finals by blasting out a 52.06 in the finals to reclaim the record.
Six Records: With her 400-meter record at the SEC Championships, Jessica Cousins continues to hold six Lady Razorback school records. Along with her outdoor 400-meter record she holds or is a part of the outdoor 4×4, outdoor sprint medley relay, outdoor 4×2, indoor 4×4 and indoor 400.
Moving Up: Thanks to her impressive performances at the SEC Championships, Jessica Cousins made a huge move on the Trackwire Dandy Dozen. She went from 10th to fourth on the latest list after finishing second at the SEC meet to potential NCAA favorite Natasha Hastings.
Arkansas in the Rankings: The Lady Razorbacks made a big move in the latest Trackwire Rankings as well as the USATCCCA poll. Arkansas jumped from tied from 16th to 13th in the latest Trackwire Ranking, going from potentially 14 points to 21. As for the USATCCCA, Arkansas made its season debut at 20th last week
SEC Athletes of the Week: The Lady Razorbacks have taken three SEC Athlete of the Week honors this spring. Katie Stripling was the first when she nabbed the Penn Relays title in the pole vault and was followed a week later by a Lady Razorback sweep of the runner and field athlete awards by Tiavannia Thompson and Carly Bloomfield, respectively.
National Record Holder: Based on her performance at the Arkansas Twilight Meet, senior Tiavannia Thompson is now the Bahamian national record holder for the 100-meter hurdles. On Arkansas’s home track, Thompson clocked 13.26 in the race with an allowable wind of 1.9 m/s.
17 SEC Championships: Arkansas’ 11 SEC Cross Country titles are the base of the Lady Razorback’s 17 conference championships in cross country, indoor and outdoor track. The Lady Razorbacks have also won three indoor and three outdoor titles.
3-4-5 Steeplechase: Led by junior Caroline Peyton, the Lady Razorbacks grabbed the 3-4-5 spots at the SEC Championships in the steeplechase to snare 15 points toward their team score. While Peyton didn’t quite match her season best in the effort, her confidence throughout the race was instrumental in the Lady Razorbacks’ effort.
Major Championship Titles: Taking at look at the major events that Arkansas has participated in this season, it’s impressive to note that the Lady Razorbacks have won six titles this spring. Dacia Barr and Jodi Unger took SEC Championships, Katie Stripling won a Penn Relays title. The 4×2 and 4×4 grabbed Drake Relays trophies and the sprint medley relay won a championship at the Texas Relays.