4x4 clocks world NCAA leader
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Freshman Stephanie Brown, sophomore Tina Sutej and junior Shelise Williams recorded some of the best marks in the NCAA in their respective events for No. 17 Arkansas Razorback track and field on day two of the Razorback Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center on Saturday.
"Our mile relay was phenomenal and we are still without Whitney Jones," head coach Lance Harter said. "Shelise had a great weekend and some of our younger student-athletes really shined. Stephanie Brown had another good showing the 800 meters. She’s so close to the auto qualifier. Tina Sutej was impressive again in the pole vault. We are making great progress as a team and we are getting better every week."
Williams won the 400 meters with a personal-best time of 52.72. She bettered her NCAA provisional qualifier, ranks No. 2 in the NCAA and leads the SEC. Her time also ranks No. 4 in the world and No. 2 on Arkansas’ all-time list.
"I was a little banged up this week but I wasn’t going to let it stand in my way," Williams said. "I was a little bit slower on the first 200 of my open race but I got a surge during the second lap and just kept my arms and legs moving."
Williams came back to run the second leg of the 4×400-meter relay to end the weekend’s events. The quartet of senior Karen Thomas (55.03), Williams (52.23), junior Edina Brooks (54.79) and freshman Regina George (52.77) won the event in a time of 3:34.80. Their clocking is No. 1 in the world, NCAA and SEC, is an improved NCAA provisional qualifier and is the No. 4 time in Arkansas school history.
Sutej finished second overall and first among collegians in the pole vault. She cleared 14-2 and her height is a personal best, ranks No. 1 in the NCAA and the SEC and betters her Slovenian National record. She now holds the No. 3 jump in Arkansas school history.
Sutej led a 2-3-5-7 finish for Arkansas in the event. Senior Katie Stripling finished third (13-8.5), senior Janice Keppler was fifth with a season best of 13-1.5 and junior Kristen Keith was seventh with a season best of 12-1.5.
Brown won the championship heat of the 800 meters. She clocked a personal-best time of 2:05.08. She bettered her NCAA provisional qualifier, ranks No. 3 in the NCAA and No. 3 in the SEC. She has the top time by a freshman in 2010.
"Having other runners in front of me and staying relaxed really made the difference for me in this race," Brown said. "They set the pace and my motivation was to win. A fast time came from the motivation to beat them. It’s great to get a personal best and get closer to the automatic qualifier."
In the championship heat of the mile, sophomore Samantha Learch led a trio of Razorbacks with her fourth-place finish and personal-best time of 4:48.48. Freshman Natanya Luther, in her Razorback debut, finished sixth with a time of 4:58.01. Freshman Taylor Johnson was 11th with her personal-best time of 5:05.33.
Also in the 400 meters, Thomas finished 11th (55.30), Brooks finished 17th (56.14) and freshman Gwendolyn Flowers finished 28th (58.54). In the 800 meters, George finished fourth (2:10.04) and freshman Martine Borge finished 11th (2:17.64). Borge’s performance is a season best. Freshman Cali George won the 3,000 meters with her personal-best time of 10:04.59.
The Razorbacks will compete next at the Texas A&M Challenge, Jan. 29-30, in College Station, Texas.