AUSTIN, Texas – For the fourth-consecutive year the Arkansas women’s track and field team advanced three pole vaulters, Desiree Freier, Lexi Weeks and Tori Weeks, through the NCAA West Preliminary Round to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Freier, Lexi Weeks and Tori Weeks came out unscathed in arguably the most challenging preliminary pole vault competition in the history of the regional meets, which saw 23 vaulters clear the 4.20m/13-9 1/4 bar in Austin. The Razorback vault trio were three of 10 athletes to scale the 4.30m/14-1 1/4 bar. Arkansas is one of three programs (Duke and Washington) to qualify two vaulters for outdoor nationals and is the only program to qualify three.
“The conditions were great,” assistant coach Bryan Compton said. “That’s one of the reasons everyone was able to jump so high in the whole group. We had 23 girls over 13-9 so it was a tough competition. For them 14-1 is not that big of a deal, with Lexi and Tori having 15 feet PRs and Desi with 14-5, for them that bar should be easy and I think that’s the approach they took to just get it done.”
NCAA Outdoor Arkansas Vault Trios
• 2014: 4. Sandi Morris (4.35m), 5. Ariel Voskamp (4.20m) and 8. Danielle Nowell (4.15m)
• 2015: 2. Sandi Morris (4.65m), 5. Desiree Freier (4.35m) and 7. Ariel Voskamp (4.30m)
• 2016: 1. Lexi Weeks (4.50m), 15. Tori Weeks (4.05m) and Ariel Voskamp (–)
• 2017: Lexi Weeks, Tori Weeks and Desiree Freier
Almost all of the Razorbacks in action at Mike A. Myers stadium on day one of the West Prelims advanced through to the quarterfinal round of their respective events.
Sophomore Damajahnee was the first quarterfinal qualifier of the day, following her first-place finish in heat two of the 400-meter hurdles.
Arkansas gained three more second-round qualifiers after the 1,500, off the heels of Nikki Hiltz, Theres Haiss and Carina Viljoen. The middle distance crew all advanced out of heat one, Hiltz and Haiss as top finishers while Viljoen earned her spot from her time.
Speedy pair Jada Baylark and Kiara Parker both finished inside the top-two of their respective heats in the 100. Parker clocked an all-conditions best of 11.20 (w3.8). Baylark’s time of 11.19 (w.4.7) while commendable, exceeded permissible wind allowance to count toward a career mark.
Senior Daina Harper (400) and sophomore Ceara Watson (800) closed out the night for the Razorbacks advancing out the first round with a first and third place heat finish, respectively.
*Times listed above denote the start of the live stream
Harper will attempt to become the eighth Eugene-bound Hog tomorrow evening around 5:30 p.m. CT in the 400-meter quarterfinals.
Fans can follow the action through the live results link or tune in to the Texas Sports live stream daily by using the links above. Fans can also participate in the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #NCAATF.
Arkansas NCAA West Event Schedule
Friday, May 26
5:30 p.m. – Women’s 400m Quarterfinal (Harper)
6:00 p.m. – Women’s 100m Quarterfinal (Baylark, Parker)
6:30 p.m. – Women’s 800m Quarterfinal (Watson)
7:00 p.m. – Women’s 400m Hurdles Quarterfinal (Birch)
7:30 p.m. – Women’s 200m First Round (Baylark, Parker)
8:20 p.m. – Women’s 3000m Steeplechase Quarterfinal (Nichwitz, Ward)
Saturday, May 27
6:00 p.m. – Women’s 4x100m Quarterfinal (Baylark, Stumbaugh, Harper, Parker)
6:30 p.m. – Women’s 1500m Quarterfinal (Haiss, Hiltz, Viljoen)
7:35 p.m. – Women’s 200m Quarterfinal (Baylark, Parker)
8:05 p.m. – Women’s 5000m Semifinal (Brown, Gray, Reed, Ward, Werner)
9:25 p.m. – Women’s 4x400m Quarterfinal (Arkansas)
*Italicized names denote a round of competition which require qualification
NCAA West Day One Results
100 Meters First Round
8. Jada Baylark – 11.19w Q
11. Kiara Parker – 11.20w Q
400 Meters First Round
2. Daina Harper – 51.91 Q
800 Meters First Round
14. Ceara Watson – 2:08.76 Q
1,500 Meters First Round
5. Nikki Hiltz – 4:24.27 Q
9. Therese Haiss – 4:25.00 Q
13. Carina Viljoen – 4:26.43 Q
39. Sydney Brown -4:35.31
400 Meter Hurdles First Round
6. Damajahnee Birch – 58.56 Q
3. Lexi Weeks – 4.30m/14-1.25 NCAA Q
3. Tori Weeks – 4.30m/14-1.25 NCAA Q
8. Desiree Freier – 4.30m/14-1.25 NCAA Q
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.