FAYETTEVILLE – No. 6 Arkansas Razorback women’s track and field earned a runner-up finish in the team race at the 2010 SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships, at the Randal Tyson Track Center, on Sunday.
The Razorbacks’ runner-up finish is their highest since earning the same spot at the 2005 championships. Arkansas earned bronze finishes in the team race in 2008 and 2009. During the three-day competition, Arkansas picked up three event titles (400 meters, 4×400-meter relay and pole vault) and a runner-up finish (distance medley relay). Florida won the team title with 110 points and LSU rounded out the top three with 79.5 points.
"I’m very impressed with our sprints and middle distance crews after what I saw today in those races," head coach Lance Harter said. "Shelise Williams is really on the rise. She had a great weekend of competition. Regina George is also one to watch. She’s definitely one of the top freshmen in the NCAA. She ran a stellar anchor leg on our 4×4. Overall, this weekend, we had some very positive performances and from some of our younger student-athletes. Tina Sutej’s win in the vault was also spectacular. This is a good momentum builder heading into the national meet."
Arkansas’ final event of the day, the 4×400-meter relay, led to one of its greatest victories. The quartet of junior Edina Brooks, junior Shelise Williams, sophomore Whitney Jones and freshman Regina George won Arkansas’ first-ever SEC 4×400-meter title. They did so in a time of 3:34.61.
"I took control when I got the baton and took it home for the win," George said. "We were bumping into each other and there were a lot of elbows touching so I made the first lap really fast, and that helped us become SEC champions."
Earlier in the day, Williams won her first SEC individual title and Arkansas’ first SEC 400-meter title with a race win. She crossed the finish line in 53.21. George was sixth in the open quarter-mile and clocked a time of 54.56.
"I felt I could have run better but I am so glad I got 10 points for my team and the SEC Championship," Williams said. "I worked hard to get here and this has been a good season for me. Now we have the NCAAs left."
Arkansas’ middle distance crew was hard at work in the 800 meters, the mile and the distance medley relay. The Razorback DMR earned a runner-up finish and eight points for the team total. The quartet of sophomore Samantha Learch (1,200 meters), senior Karen Thomas (400 meters), freshman Stephanie Brown (800 meters) and sophomore Kristen Gillespie (1,600 meters) combined for a time of 11:20.12.
Earlier in the day, Brown earned a fifth-place finish in the 800 meters. Gillespie led a 4-5-7-8 finish and 13 points in the mile final for Arkansas. She clocked a time of 4:44.70, Learch was fifth in 4:49.10, freshman Taylor Johnson was seventh in 4:53.64 and freshman Natanya Luther was eighth in 4:55.29.
Junior Shantel Thompson picked up a sixth-place finish in Saturday’s long jump and added a fourth-place finish in the triple jump and a ninth-place finish in the high jump on Sunday. She cleared 5-7 in the high jump and her best triple jump of the day measured 41-2.5, both season-best marks.