AUSTIN, Texas -Junior Shelise Williams set a school record in the 400 meters for No. 9 Arkansas Razorback women’s track and field at the NCAA West preliminary rounds on Friday, at Mike A. Myers Stadium, in Austin, Texas.
"All of our kids are doing a fantastic job," head coach Lance Harter said. "Brittany Hyter has really outperformed this weekend. And we can’t take anything away from Shelise Williams and her school record in the 400 meters. We are having a phenomenal meet and it’s a credit to our kids and their training. Lifetime bests happen in unique situations and we are having a lot of them. I’m really excited about our final day tomorrow."
Williams led a trio of Razorbacks in the quarterfinals of the 400 meters. She finished second in her heat and fourth overall with a personal-best and school-record time of 51.71. She replaces the previous school record of 51.92 set by Jessica Cousins in 2007.
"I’m excited to finally break 52 seconds," Williams said. "I was nervous to look at the scoreboard. Hard work is paying off and I’m so thankful. Words can’t describe how I feel right now and to get that school record, I’m so happy. I’m ready for Eugene."
Freshman Regina George finished second in her heat and sixth overall with a time of 53.21. She and Williams will compete at the NCAA Championships, June 9-12, in Eugene, Ore. Senior Karen Thomas finished 23rd in a time of 55.18.
"I thought Shelise had this in her during the indoor season," associate head coach Rolando Greene said. "But I’m happy it’s coming out of her know, when it’s important. She needs to take the same attitude to Eugene and keep the same composure. She ran a nice, steady race. Regina George was also impressive. I think she is the most talented freshman sprinter to ever wear the Arkansas uniform. Her potential is endless. I’m really pleased with what I have seen out of our kids this weekend."
Sophomore Brittany Hyter competed in the opening round of the 100-meter hurdles and the quarterfinals of the 400-meter hurdles. In the 100-meter hurdles, she finished 13th overall and automatically advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinals with a personal-best time of 13.37.
In the 400-meter hurdles, she finished fourth overall and automatically advanced to the NCAA Championships next month. She clocked a personal-best time of 57.52, the No. 5 time in school history. Hyter has clocked three personal bests in as many races and will race again Saturday.
Freshman Leah Orley also ran the quarterfinals of the 400-meter hurdles. She finished 15th overall with a personal-best time of 58.77, her second PR in as many races.
Freshman Stephanie Brown will run the 800 meters at the NCAA Championships She finished fourth in her heat and 10th overall with a personal-best time of 2:04.52.
Sophomore Cali George finished 30th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:49.62. In the long jump, junior Shantel Thompson finished 34th (19-2.5) and sophomore Whitney Jones was 39th (19-1.25). They did not advance in their respective events.
Competition at the NCAA West prelims will continue at 2 p.m. on Saturday with the triple jump.