Cousins sets record again Lady'Backs fourth

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior Jessica Cousins broke the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback school record in the 400 meters for the second time in two days, then headlined the 4×400-meter relay to the third fastest time in the nation on the final day of the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track Championships in Lexington, Ky.

The efforts of Cousins and the rest of the Lady Razorbacks led to a 38-point day which allowed Arkansas to place fourth overall in grueling competition. Tennessee took the women’s team title with 120 points followed by Georgia (103) and LSU (101).

“If everything lined up for us today, I think we may have been able to score in the low 90s,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “Overall, I am really pleased with our efforts and feel like this is certainly something that we can build on. For some of this team, it is now time to focus on the outdoor season, but for others we still have a last chance meet next week and the NCAA Championships in two weeks.”

Cousins continued her torrid pace in the 400 meters on Sunday afternoon in the event finals. Breaking the school record by four-tenths of a second on Saturday, Cousins returned in the second section of the final to clock 52.60 and drop the mark another two-tenths. For the weekend she shattered the mark set by Tominque Boatright just last season by 0.57 seconds and now ranks in the top six in the nation. Cousins finished second in the race to pick up eight points toward Arkansas’ team score.

The Lady Razorbacks ended the competition on a high note with the 4×400-meter relay. Wanting to get speed up front, the Arkansas coaching staff led off the relay with Boatright who clocked her best split of the season, and one of the best in Lady Razorback history, at 52.7 giving the baton to Cousins in third position just behind national leaders LSU and South Carolina. Cousins then ran another splendid 400-meter race, splitting 53.4 on just two hours rest between her record setting run and the relay.

Still in third position, Cousins gave the stick to Sasha Rolle who put together yet another splendid leg with a 53.7 split before Paige Farrell anchored the team across the finish line in 54.2 seconds and a final time of 3:34.69. Arkansas’ time is the third fastest in the nation to date and also the third fastest in Lady Razorback history behind two times from the 2006 indoor season.

Arkansas’ relay time is even more impressive when you take into account that Farrell was also running her second race of the day after clocking a season best effort in the 800 meters a little over an hour prior to the relay. In her race, Farrell got out with the leaders and stayed among the top three for more than 600 meters before getting boxed in along the rail by a trio of runners which forced her to adjust her stride. The setback was costly to the Springdale, Ark., native as she dropped several spots in the race, finishing fifth with a time of 2:08.38.

Also picking up solid points for the Lady Razorbacks was junior Dacia Barr in the mile. Coming off the mile prelims and 3,000-meter final yesterday, Barr stepped onto the track ready for another battle with Tennessee superstar Sarah Bowman and once again the race was everything it was billed to be. Barr ran side-by-side with Bowman for most of the race, but a late push by Georgia’s Natalie Picchetti pushed the tempo just a bit too fast for Barr causing her to finish fourth. Lauren Lewis would finish ninth in the race.

Other scorers for the Lady Razorbacks on Sunday included junior Michelle Rossio in the shot put who finished sixth with a toss of 47-1 ¾, Christine Kalmer and Denise Bargiachi in the 5,000 meters who took third and seventh-place finishes respectively and the distance medley relay who finished fifth.

For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.