COLUMBIA, S.C. – Taking on the 10,000-meter race for the first time in her career, freshman Taylor Werner wrapped up a strong first day at the 2017 SEC Outdoor Championships for the No. 5 Arkansas women’s track and field team with a second place finish late Thursday night at Cregger Track.
The SEC Indoor 5,000 champion in late February, Werner held a tight grip on second place over the final 3,200 meters of the race en route to scoring the first eight points of Arkansas’ quest to its 10th straight SEC title.
Arkansas’ depth in the heptathlon was on full display over the first four events on Thursday. The Razorbacks occupy the top four spots in the standings heading into Friday led by junior Taliyah Brooks in first place. Three different Razorbacks combined to win all four events with Brooks taking the high jump, junior Payton Stumbaugh winning the 100-meter hurdles and 200, while senior Leigha Brown took home the shot put.
Friday will open up with the final three events of the decathlon (100-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin & 1500 meters) starting 10:30 a.m. CT while live coverage on SEC Network+ will begin at 5:30 p.m. Finals on Friday include the pole vault, long jump and 3000-meter steeplechase.
A pair of Razorbacks opened the evening running events in the first heat of the 800 meters, as junior Nikki Hiltz and sophomore Ceara Watson both advanced to Saturday’s final. Hiltz earned one of two automatic qualifier spots with a personal-best of 2.05.83 that was good for sixth. Watson was the top non-automatic qualifier to make Saturday’s final of nine with a PR of 2.06.13.
Sophomore Damajahnee Birch easily advanced out of the 400-meter hurdle preliminaries with a second-place finish in the first heat of the evening. Birch, who earned a point in last year’s SEC Championship in the 400 hurdles as a true freshman, turned in the fourth-best prelim time (57.25) heading into Saturday’s final.
200 Meter Prelims
14. Kiara Parker – 23.11
21. Jada Baylar – 23.56 – PR
800 Meter Prelims
5. Nikki Hiltz – 2.05.83q – PR
6. Ceara Watson – 2.06.13q – PR
19. Kailee Sawyer – 2.11.07
21. Alexandra Byrnes – 2:12.59
10,000 Meter Finals
2. Taylor Werner – 34:15.71 – PR
16. Valerie Reina – 36:17.37
20. Kelsey Schrader – 37:01.57
DNF – Logan Bishop
400 Hurdle Prelims
4. Damajahnee Birch – 57.25q
Heptathlon Squad Dominates
The day got off to a strong start, as the Razorbacks occupied four of the top five spots in the 100-meter hurdles, including the top three and a pair of PRs. The 100-meter hurdles were a sign of things to come in the first four events of the Heptathlon as three different Razorbacks combined to win all four events while the group set nine PRs.
The program record holder in the 100-meter hurdles, Stumbaugh paced the field of 13 with a time of 13.00 for the first of her two victories on the day. It was a day filled with PRs for Brooks as she placed second in the 100-meter hurdles at 13.14, while a sophomore Kelsey Herman took third and a PR from Brown rounded out four Razorbacks in the top five.
Momentum carried over to the high jump where Arkansas occupied five of the top six spots. The final duel came down to Brooks and Herman with the bar at 5-10 3/4. Brooks soared over the bar on her first attempt to win the event while Herman broke her PR three times in the event with a final clearance of 5-9 3/4.
Brown became the third different Razorback to win in the third event of the day when she took first in the shot put with a throw of 43-8. Brown’s winning throw came on her first attempt of the day. Brooks picked up her second PR of the day with a throw 39-4 in her first attempt to take fourth. Herman’s final throw of 39-0 1/2 not only was a PR but also moved her into the top five.
The Razorbacks closed the same way they started by showing off their speed. After watching Brooks pace the first heat of the 200 meters with a PR of 23.88, Stumbaugh followed in the next heat with a 23.22 to set her own PR and take her second event to end the day. Brooks’ run was good for second place, while Herman was right behind Stumbaugh in the second heat to take third. Brown rounded out the quartet in the top five with a personal-best of 24.19.
The 200 meters marked the second Heptathlon event the Razorbacks went 1-3 and third in which they had four of the top five.
Arkansas in the Heptathlon Standings
1. Taliyah Brooks – 3,733
2. Leigha Brown – 3,654
3. Payton Stumbaugh – 3,648
4. Kelsey Herman – 3,642
8. Ashlee Moore – 3,307
2. 100 Hurdles – 13.14 (1103 points) – PR
1. High Jump – 5-10 3/4 (978 points)
4. Shot Put – 39-4 (660 points) – PR
2. 200 Meters – 23.88 (992) – PR
5. 100 Hurdles – 13.57 (1040 points) – PR
3. High Jump – 5-8 1/2 (903 points)
1. Shot Put – 43-8 (748 points) – PR
5. 200 Meters – 24.19 (963 points) – PR
1. 100 Hurdles – 13.00 (1124 points)
5. High Jump – 5-7 1/4 (867 points)
8. Shot Put – 36-4 1/4 (600 points)
1. 200 Meters – 23.22 (1057 points) – PR
3. 100 Hurdles – 13.45 (1058 points)
2. High Jump – 5-9 3/4 (941 points) – PR
5. Shot Put – 39-0 1/2 (654 points) – PR
3. 200 Meters – 23.91 (989 points)
7. 100 Hurdles – 13.70 (1021 points)
6. High Jump – 5-6 (830 points)
7. Shot Put 36-10 1/4 (610 points)
11. 200 Meters – 25.45 (846 points)