FAYETTEVILLE – It was a pole vault weekend for the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team as junior Jodi Unger improved upon her career best in the event with a clearance of 13 feet, 6 ¼ inches to win the collegiate section of the event at the Tyson Invitational on Saturday.
Unger entered the day with a career best of 13-1 ½, but soared over that mark and the next two bars to post the NCAA’s fourth best jump in the nation this year.
“Jodi has been knocking at the door all year,” Arkansas assistant coach Bryan Compton said. “We really felt that her best jumps were ahead of her and today proved that.”
Entering Saturday’s competition at 12-6 ¼, after most of the field had already ended their afternoon, Unger was one of five competitors to clear the bar. She would make the next height on her first try and watch the rest of the field miss three times to give herself the event victory and give herself the option of setting the bar where she chose. Moving the standards to 13-4 ¼, Unger missed her first attempt at the height before clearing on her second to all but assure her a spot at the NCAA Championships.
With the pressure of posting a solid qualifier behind her, Unger then moved the bar to 13-6 ¼ and flew over the height on her first of three attempts to place herself among the nation’s elite jumpers. Unger would end her day at 13-8 ¼, when she was credited with her third miss, but had three solid attempts at the height.
Arkansas’ 5,000-meter runners also had a good afternoon for the Lady Razorbacks as senior Penny Splichal posted her second NCAA provisional qualifier in the event and freshman Jennifer Harper clocked a 25-second personal best. Splichal finished in 16:31.76, just three seconds off her time from last weekend while Harper skirted around the track in 17:02.81.
In the 3,000-meter run, the Arkansas quartet of Tiffany Redlarczyk, Caroline Peyton, Laura Kerr and Lea Carruthers ran very well with Redlarczyk and Peyton taking top 10 finishes with times of 9:55.44 and 9:58.91, breaking the 10-minute mark. Running in the championship section of the race, freshman Christine Kalmer finished in 9:40.64 to record her fastest time ever indoors and barely miss the NCAA provisional standard.
For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.