Races, Four Qualifiers
PALO ALTO, Calif. - Junior Kasia Williams led the
University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team on the final day of the
Stanford Invitational late Saturday night with an amazing time of 13.20
in the 100 hurdles to complete the competition with four NCAA qualifiers
in five attempts.
Williams, who held a career best of 13.68
prior to this year, dropped her best mark to 13.58 during preliminary
action and went into the finals as the top seed. A NCAA indoor national
championships participant, Williams would not be denied first-place honors
at Stanford University as she breezed past the competition to clock out
"Kasia was on today," Arkansas associate head
coach Rolando Greene said. "Making the NCAA Championships indoors gave
her a lot of confidence and that is carrying over to the outdoor season.
I believe that she has even more in the tank and can get down into the
teens or even faster."
While not quite cracking into Arkansas' all-time
top five for the hurdles, Williams is knocking on the door for the fifth-place
spot which would require her to run 13.11 and knock out former Lady'Backs
and recent IAAF World Championships participant Gi-Gi Miller.
Also posting a regional qualifier in the hurdles
was fellow junior Beyonka McDowell. The eighth-place finisher in preliminaries
with a mark of 14.04, McDowell improved significantly in the finals with
a time of 13.87 to post the qualifier and finish seventh overall.
Returning to competition was sophomore pole vaulter
Stacie Manuel who showed why she was the SEC Indoor Track Freshman of
the Year in 2003 by regionally qualifying in the pole vault. Injured for
most of the 2003 outdoor season and redshirting the 2004 indoor campaign
as she continued to heal, Manuel took her first jumps in competition since
the NCAA Outdoor Championships last spring and cleared 13 feet, ¼ inches
to finish second behind the NCAA indoor champion from UCLA.
"Stacie looked good for her first time out,"
Arkansas assistant coach Bryan Compton said. "Technically she was solid,
we just need to work on a few things and she'll be back to where she was
Manuel was the SEC indoor champion in the
vault when she cleared 13-8 at the conference meet, and briefly held Arkansas'
outdoor track record in the event at 13-5.5 last season before it was
broken by four-time all-American April Steiner.
Also posting a NCAA regional qualifier was
junior Erica Sigmont in the 800-meter run. Still recovering from several
illnesses from the indoor season, Sigmont looked very strong in the event,
running 2:07.38, a personal best for her as a collegiate runner. In a
tough competition, Sigmont placed eighth overall, beating several notable
runners and taking the first steps to the form that made her a multiple-time
all-American in 2003.
For more information about Lady Razorback
track or about Arkansas women's athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.