Outdoors Already: Just two weeks removed from the NCAA Indoor Championships, the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team takes to the larger oval for the 2007 outdoor campaign. First up for Arkansas is the Jim Click Shoot-Out at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz.
Getting Acquainted: The purpose of the Jim Click for Arkansas is to get used to outdoor track once more. With the University on spring break, the athletes can focus on their events and get acquainted with the 400-meter flat surface as opposed to the 200-meter banked track of the Tyson Center.
Two-Thirds Over: Believe it or not, the University of Arkansas’ cross country/track & field seasons are two-thirds over. Just 11 weeks of competition remain before the outdoor season comes to a close and the University closes the books on track for 2007.
Still Much to Cover: While the entire academic year may be two-thirds over, the Lady Razorback track team still has a lot of work in front of it. There are 11 weekends of competition between now and the NCAA Championships with Arkansas participating in multiple meets on at least two occasions. The two big weekends come in April with the Mt. SAC Relays, Rafer Johnson Invite and John Jacobs meets April 13-15 and on April 26-28 with the Drake and Penn Relays, Sooner Invite and Cardinal Invitational.
Indoor Wrap Up: The Lady Razorbacks had a good indoor season in 2007. Certainly not the greatest in Arkansas history, but a huge improvement over 2006. The Lady Razorbacks finished fourth at the Southeastern Conference Championships and tied for 21st at the NCAA Championships. Seven all-America certificates were awarded to six individuals with Jessica Cousins picking up a pair. Two Lady Razorback school records were eclipsed during the season as well with Cousins claiming the 400-meter mark and Christine Kalmer taking the 3,000-meters.
Super Season: There isn’t much more that one can say about Jessica Cousin’s 2007 indoor season except, wow. The senior broke the Arkansas school record in the 400 meters twice in the span of two days at the Southeastern Conference Championships, qualified in the 200 and 400 meters, individually, assisted Arkansas’ 4×4 and DMR teams to qualifiers and helped both relays to top five marks in UA history. She capped the schedule off with a pair of all-America honors including a fifth-place finish in the 400 meters at the NCAA meet.
The School Record: Entering the season, Jessica Cousins did not even show up on Arkansas’ all-time top five times list of 400 meters indoors. That list was dominated by teammate Tominque Boatright who held the school record at 53.17. Cousins decimated the mark in the prelims of the SEC Championships by running 52.79, and then upped the ante in the finals by running 52.60. Cousins concluded the 2007 indoor season with the top four marks in Arkansas history for 400 meters including three sub 53-second times.
One-Day Schedule: The University of Arizona isn’t wasting any time at the Jim Click Shoot-Out this weekend with a one-day action packed schedule. Beginning at 10:00 a.m. mountain time, competition is scheduled to run just six hours and end roughly at 4:00 p.m.
Full Compliment: With spring break at the University, the Lady Razorbacks plan to bring a full compliment of athletes to the Tucson, Ariz., desert. Joining Arkansas for the first time this season however will be the javelin throwers who don’t compete indoors.
Welcome: With the close of the indoor season, Arkansas is ready to welcome three athletes to the outdoor roster. Coming back for their second seasons are Arkansas’ javelin throwers Carly Bloomfield and Kelsey Mollenkamp and joining the Lady Razorbacks for the first time is hurdler Makeatha Cooper.
Entries: The list of entries for the Jim Click Shoot-Out are not due until Tuesday afternoon and therefore are not available for this set of notes. An updated list will be posted online with the notes late on Tuesday.
A Better Outdoor Team: Lance Harter has said from the beginning of the season that he felt the Lady Razorbacks were a better outdoor team than they are indoors. Considering that they finished fourth at the SEC Indoor Championships that could be a very good thing. Added to the lineup outdoors is the 10,000 meters, javelin, 400 hurdles and steeplechase, all events that could add points to Arkansas’ final score at both the SEC and NCAA meets.
School Record: On Saturday afternoon, Feb. 3, sophomore Christine Kalmer made Arkansas history when she broke the Lady Razorback indoor school record for 3,000 meters at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational. Running 9:10.62, she smashed the seven-year-old mark of five-time all-American Lilli Kleinmann (9:11.81) by more than a second.
Kalmer’s Career: In just her second year, Christine Kalmer has already had a very successful career. As a freshman she was the leader of Arkansas’ cross country team earning first-team all-conference and all-region honors on way to being named the SEC’s Cross Country Freshman of the Year. She continued her rise during the outdoor season when she qualified for the NCAA Championships at the Mideast Regional.
All-American: Stephanie Irwin earned the first all-America honor of her career at the NCAA Indoor Championships when she finished sixth in the pole vault. Clean through 13-5.25, the lack of misses were key to her placing and all-America status.
10th Honor, Fifth Individual: With her all-America honor, Stephanie Irwin becomes the fifth Lady Razorback to earn pole vault all-America honors indoors and takes Arkansas’ 10th honor.
New Balance Champion, Again: For the second straight year, Stephanie Irwin battled and beat her teammate Jodi Unger at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational. The victory was her second in as many years and makes her the first two-time pole vault champion in the competition’s history. She also cleared a season best with the win.
Another All-America Honor: Jodi Unger may not have finished where she would have liked at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships, but she did accomplish one of her goals and that was to earn all-America honors. Her second indoor certificate is one behind April Steiner (3) and her three all-America honors overall also place her one behind Steiner (4).
Always the Bridesmaid, Never the . . .: Well, the analogy doesn’t quite work for Jodi Unger who is already married, but the thought is there. Beginning with the 2006 SEC Indoor Championships, Unger has finished as SEC runner-up three times and at each meet she has continued to push the bar higher. This year it was 13-8 1/4, a career best and she claimed second place on misses for the third straight championship.
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.
Best Ever?: When speaking about the great pole vaulters that have come through the doors of the University of Arkansas you can’t have the discussion without Unger’s name. The Texas native has as many all-America honors (2) as all but one other Lady Razorback (Steiner) and broke the conference outdoor championship record of Steiner’s. Is Unger the best to ever compete Arkansas, probably not yet, but by the end of the 2007 seasons, she could be.
SEC Champions: The Lady Razorbacks entered the 2007 indoor season with an honor it has not had in three years, SEC Champions. Arkansas’ cross country team dominated the conference championship held at LSU in October to win its 11th SEC Cross Country title.
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.