Second Again: The Lady Razorbacks had the duvious honor of finishingsecond at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships to LSU. The finish was the second time in three weeks that the Lady Razorbacks finished behind LSU (SEC and Regional).
A Great Weekend: As has been the case for most of the outdoor season, the Lady Razorbacks had a great weekend at the NCAA Mideast Regional. Seven Lady Razorbacks and one relay earned spots at the NCAA meet by finishing among the region’s top five and as a team the Lady’Backs had thier best showing in the five years of the competition by finishing second.
Make that 14: With the release of the final list of competitors for the NCAA Championships, Arkansas was happy to be informed that 13 individuals were selected to compete at the national championship. Several days later Katie Stripling was added to the field making that number 14. Adding a relay runner to that gives the Lady Razorbacks 15 athletes at the national meet, exceeding the most going back to the 2001 season (14 in 2004).
10 Events: What is perhaps most impressive about Arkansas’s 13 indiviuals and relays is that they will compete in 10 of the 21 scheduled women’s events at the national championship. Nine of event prelims are scattered throughout the first two days of competion with the heptathlon running on days two and three.
Championship Experience: What Arkansas brings to the table in 2007 that it didn’t have in 2006 is experience. Of the 14 women that wear cardinal and white, eight participated at the NCAA outdoor meet a year ago.
Last Year at the NCAA Championships: It was a struggle for the Lady Razorbacks in 2006 as they brought nine inexperienced women to the NCAA Championships. Over the course of the first day-plus, each Lady Razorback would be eliminated from competition, but Jodi Unger changed that by qualifying in the pole vault, then the 4×400-relay set a school record. Both would move on to finals on Saturday and earn 10 points combined to tie the Lady Razorbacks for 25th in the final standings.
2006 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field ChampionshipsSacramento State Univ. • June 7-10, 2006
NCAA Schedule: The NCAA Championships are conducted over a four-day period beginning on Wednesday, June 6. Days one and two focus on preliminaries and qualifying with only the 10,000-meter final concerning the Lady Razorbacks. Day three sees the heptathlon conlude along with the 100 hurdles, pole vault and 5,000 meters. The final short day of competition showcases the 1,500, 400, javelin and 4×400-meter relay.
Television: The NCAA Championships are set to be shown live on TV on Saturday, June 9 on CBS between noon and 2:00 p.m. central. Friday’s competition may also be broadcast live on CSTV although confirmation has been announced. If it does go live, that broadcast is between 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. central, Friday, June 8.
Competitors: The Lady Razorbacks are scheduled to bring 14 student-athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Championships with 13 set to compete in individual events and another just on the relay. The 400 meters is a major event for the Lady’Backs as three women compete in the event. The pole vault and javelin each showcase two Lady’Backs and the 200, 1,500, 5,000, 10,000, 100 hurdles and heptathlon each have one.
Jodi Unger: The NCAA Championships closes the book on one of the best pole vaulters in Lady Razorback history, Jodi Unger. A three-time all-American, SEC Championship record holder, Penn Relays Champion, SEC Champion and NCAA Mideast Regional Champion, Unger’s career began as a modest 11-foot pole vaulter and ends with her in the running for a national title.
Been There, Done That: That should be Jodi Unger’s philosophy as she enters the NCAA Championships. She was a finalist in the event a year ago, vaulting 13-5 1/4 during prelims and exceeding the effort in finals.
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.
14 Feet: That is the mark that Unger has gone after all year. If she can clear 14 feet at the NCAA Championships, she would 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.
Regional Champions: The Lady Razorbacks took home two mideast regional championships this spring, a first in Lady Razorback history. Jodi Unger won the pole vault and while that competition was taking place, Jessica Cousins took the 400-meter title.
Jessica Cousins: Just when you think that she can’t do anything else, Jessica Cousins come through with another unbelievable performance. This time it was times of 52.31 and 52.10 at the NCAA Mideast Regional as she took Arkansas’s first ever regional championship in the 400 meters and the first in an individual sprint.
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.
The 400 meters: The Lady Razorbacks dominated the 400-meter field at the SEC Championships and NCAA Mideast Regional by placing three in the event finals at the conference and sweeping the top two spots at the regional. Jessica Cousins, Tominque Boatright and Sasha Rolle each earned a spot in the SEC 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. At the regional, Cousins took the title with Boatright on her hip to snare the top two spots and earn 18 points to Arkansas’s cause.
Only Team with Three: We should point out that the Lady Razorbacks are the only school in the nation to put three 400-meter runners in the field at nationals. Several schools have two in the finals, but only Arkansas has three.
Strong 400 Leads to Impressive 4×4: With three Lady Razorbacks running in the finals of the SEC 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.
Second at Regionals: Dacia Barr went into the regional championship as a favorite, but finished second in the 1,500. Surprisingly, Arkansas’s coaches were not the least bit concerned about the effort as they employed a new race strategy which Barr executed to perfection. Waiting until the final 350 meters to make her move, Barr nearly edged Michigan’s Nicole Edwards at the line and probably could have taken Edwards if she had stayed with her the entire race.
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.
Third in the Nation: Heading into the NCAA Championships, Dacia Barr holds the nation’s third best time in the 1,500-meter run. Second heading into the regionals, Barr was passed by Stanford’s Arianna Lambie who clocked 4:14.05 at the west regional. The trio is two seconds ahead of the fourth-place time.
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.
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 owned regional qualifiers in the 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.
Rankings: The Lady Razorbacks went into the NCAA Regional tied for 13th in the Trackwire poll. Despite finishing second at the regional and qualifying 14 student-athletes, Arkansas fell to tied for 21st in the latest poll.
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.
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.
Greene Named Regional Coach of the Year: Arkansas associate head coach Rolando Greene was named the USTFCCCA Mideast Regional Sprint Coach of the Year. This season his quarter milers have been phenomenal with three making the national championship field.