Qualify Five, Finish Fourth
La. - Led by its NCAA Mideast Regional champion 4x100-meter relay, the
University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team qualified five athletes
and relays to the NCAA Championships on the final day of competition at
the regional meet at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La., on
Saturday, finishing third in the team competition.
The relay clocked its third fastest time of the year
at 44.91 as it ran away from the competition on a scorching day at Bernie
Moore Stadium. Running without its ace, Arkansas' quartet of Kasia Williams,
LaShaunte'a Moore, Shaneatra Neely and Kerri-Ann Mitchell were nearly
flawless in their baton exchanges in all three zones allowing them to
take the regional title. Williams put Arkansas in good position and Moore
looked strong on the backstretch before allowing Williams to maintain
the advantage on the curve. Mitchell anchored the team down the homestretch,
increasing the Lady Razorbacks lead before crossing the tape.
"The sprint crew really had to scramble and
reconnect this weekend," Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. "They
were able to do that and it's a real testament to the kids and coach Greene
and coach Johnson. They were here at 8 a.m. this morning reworking the
handoffs and they really came through."
The relay is Arkansas' second NCAA regional
champion in two years of competition and follows in the footsteps of April
Steiner who won the pole vault in Columbus, Ohio, in 2003.
Moore was also solid in the 100 and 200-meter
runs as she ran season best times, although wind aided, in her fifth and
sixth races in two days of competition. Moore returned in the 100 final
to finish third and earn another NCAA qualifier with a time of 11.37.
Just 45 minutes later, she ran the 200 final to the tune of 22.65 for
another third-place finish.
"LaShaunte'a really stole the show for us,"
Harter said. "In her last race she ran a lifetime best, what she and the
rest of our sprinters did was spectacular."
Starting the day off on the right foot for the Lady
Razorbacks was senior Jessica Johnson who made the most of her few opportunities
and cleared a near season-best 5 feet, 10 ½ inches in the high jump. Finishing
second based on misses, Johnson soared over the bar, then walked away
from the competition without being eliminated in order to protect an already
sore leg which she injured at the Southeastern Conference Championships.
Completing the Lady Razorbacks quintet of
advancing marks was junior Williams in the 100-meter hurdles. Williams
finished fifth in a hot competition with a time of 13.41 to earn the automatic
berth to the national championship meet.
As a team the Lady Razorbacks finished fourth
overall, equaling their fourth-place finish from the 2003 regional. Scoring
51 points, Arkansas finished behind SEC foes, LSU and Tennessee who tallied
111 and 65, respectively. In fact, five SEC squads finished in the top
six at meet.
For more information about Lady Razorback
track or about Arkansas women's athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.