AUSTIN, Texas – Before day two of the NCAA West Preliminary Round in Austin the No. 2 Arkansas women’s track and field team had never qualified multiple student-athletes for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 100-meter dash.
Underclassmen sprinters Kiara Parker and Jada Baylark changed that stat line, advancing through to the outdoor national championships together, following impressive performances in the quarterfinal round of the event. Parker (11.19w) and Baylark (11.29w) both earned automatic entries by finishing among the top-three best of their respective heats.
“I was really excited to qualify,” Baylark said. “I didn’t make it to indoor nationals so I was determined to make it to outdoor nationals. I trusted myself and my training and I made it.”
A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Baylark was the only freshman in the country to earn a spot in the 100 semifinals.
“Our young athletes in the 100 stepped up today,” associate head coach Chris Johnson said. “Kiara and Jada both ran right around their lifetime PRs and did a really great job, especially with Jada being a freshman. Her progress has just been phenomenal. We’re very proud of the both of them.”
Harper Upholds Quarter-mile Tradition
Southeastern Conference 400-meter champion Daina Harper opened day two of the NCAA West Preliminary Round in Austin strong for the No. 2 Arkansas women’s track and field team, kicking off an NCAA-qualifying trend that lasted the entire evening.
Harper completed the quarter-mile in 51.45 seconds, advancing through to the outdoor national championships as the third fastest entry from the West region. Her entry into the national meet marks the ninth-consecutive year Arkansas has had a quarter-mile representative at the NCAA outdoors, a streak that began with Shelise Williams in 2009 and continued off the heels of Regina George and Taylor Elise Watson.
Hurdles No Match for Birch
Sophomore Damajahnee Birch was the last Razorback national qualifier of the day after placing seventh in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 57.77. Birch was the second fastest performer out of heat three, finishing second only to PAC-12 bronze medalist Amalie Iuel of Southern California.
“Daina has been par for the course, she started off great and had a great run,” Johnson said. “This meet is about executing and qualifying to the next round so that’s the way we looked at it and she got it done. Dae Dae [Damajahnee] ran a well-executed race. She wasn’t happy with the time but I expressed to her that she did a good job and did what she needed to do. We expect good things from all of our athletes moving on and look forward to qualifying more through tomorrow.”
Baylark and Parker qualified out of the 200 first round, finishing inside the top-24 fastest sprinters of the day. They will attempt to earn additional national entries for the Razorbacks in tomorrow’s quarterfinal competition.
*Time listed above denotes the start of the live stream
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
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)
NCAA West Day Two Results
100 Meters Quarterfinals
8. Kiara Parker – 11.19w NCAA Q
12. Jada Baylark – 11.29w NCAA Q
200 Meters First Round
13. Kiara Parker – 23.05w Q
17. Jada Baylark – 23.28 Q
400 Meters Quarterfinals
3. Daina Harper – 51.45 NCAA Q
800 Meters Quarterfinals
20. Ceara Watson – 2:09.85
400 Meter Hurdles Quarterfinals
7. Damajahnee Birch – 57.77 NCAA Q
25. Rachel Nichwitz – 10:43.25
31. Regan Ward – 10:49.19
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.