FAYETTEVILLE – Powered by a trio of freshman the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team scored its first points at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships when its distance medley relay finished eighth in the final race of the evening.
Arkansas’ point places it in a tie for 38th in the team standings while a strong Tennessee squad leads the way with 21 points.
“Toady was a good day for us,” Arkansas head track coach Lance Harter said. “Aneita (Denton) made the finals of the 800, Kasia Williams ran a lifetime best in the hurdles and a really young team did great in the DMR. I’m really proud of those young ladies and am looking forward to tomorrow where we have more opportunities to score.”
Denton led the way with a terrific 1,200-meter run after running the 800 prelims earlier in the afternoon. Splitting 3:26, she handed off to freshman Tominque Boatright who was accidentally bumped onto the rail during the first 50 meters of her race causing her to hurt her left leg. Despite the pain and constant urge to grasp her leg, Boatright grunted out the final 350 meters of her race.
Freshman Paige Farrell took the baton next and came back to run a tremendous 800-meter leg in 2:08 to put Arkansas back in the competition. Arkansas’ third freshman Dacia Barr took the anchor 1,600-meter run and ran a career best relay leg of 4:46 to keep the Lady’Backs in eighth position for their point.
In the 800-meter prelims, Denton took care of business when she ran the fourth fastest time in Arkansas history on way to advancing to the event finals. Denton’s mark of 2:04.42 gives her the first, second, and fourth fastest times in Arkansas indoor track history and also stands as the fastest qualifying mark. Running in a heat with LSU’s Neisha Bernard-Thomas, the SEC’s third-place finisher, Denton stayed at the front of the pack through the first two laps of the race before making a move to spread the field. With 400 meters to go in the competition, Denton held a commanding lead on her competition and cruised across the finish line in first.
In a surprising turn of events, the SEC Champion and collegiate record holder, Nicole Cook of Tennessee, was unable to advance to the finals, finishing 12th and preventing a rematch between two of the nation’s fastest 800-meter runners.
Also running in the 800-meter run, freshman Paige Farrell got her first taste of NCAA competition when she ran in the same heat as her teammate. Farrell crossed the finish line in 2:11.27 to finish 15th overall.
The 60-meter hurdle preliminaries saw senior Kasia Williams run the second fastest time in Arkansas history, but due to an outstanding hurdles field failed to make the finals as she finished ninth overall. Missing the UA record by one hundredth of a second and the finals by two hundredths, Williams crossed the finish line in a career best 8.17 seconds.
The NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships conclude on Saturday at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.