Fassold wins pole vault gold, Nugent breaks Jamaican & collegiate record
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – The first day of the NCAA Indoor Championships included 18 points for No. 3 Arkansas among a pair of finals along with a collegiate record in the 60m hurdles prelims.
Amanda Fassold claimed the pole vault title while the Razorbacks collected silver in the distance medley relay with Lauren Gregory moving the squad from sixth to second place on the anchor leg.
Ackera Nugent produced the collegiate record with a 7.72 in the 60m hurdles, which also broke the NCAA Indoor meet record and the Jamaica national record.
Through six of 17 finals on Friday, Arkansas scored 18 points and is currently in second place, just three points behind Florida’s 21. NC State picked up 17 points while Notre Dame and Ole Miss have 16 points apiece.
Entering the meet with a UA school record of 7.81, Nugent generated a career best and announced that the 2021 NCAA Indoor champion is eager for another title.
Kentucky’s Masai Russell, the previous collegiate record holder with a 7.75 set earlier this season, had the second fastest qualifying time as she won a separate prelim heat in 7.78.
Nugent bettered the NCAA Indoor meet record of 7.78 set last year by Florida’s Grace Stark.
The Jamaican national record Nugent broke was a 7.74 set in 1998 by Michelle Freeman, who competed at Florida as a collegian.
Fassold, a silver medalist at the 2022 NCAA Outdoor meet, came in as a favorite to claim the indoor title. After clearing her first two bars – 13-9.25 (4.20) and 14-1.25 (4.30) – on first attempts, Fassold needed three attempts to get over 14-3.25 (4.35) with eighth vaulters still in the field at the height.
Then on the next two bars, Fassold cleared on first attempts at 14-5.25 (4.40) and 14-7.25 (4.45), moving into first place with three vaulters left in the field.
When all three missed at 14-9 (4.50), then Fassold was determined the victor based on previous misses by Oklahoma’s Olivia Lueking, who was runner-up, and South Dakota’s Marleen Mulla, the bronze medalist.
Fassold earned the seventh NCAA Indoor title by a Razorback vaulter. Previous Arkansas indoor champions include Tina Šutej (2011, 2012), Sandi Morris (2015), and Lexi Weeks (2016, 2018, 2019).
The distance medley relay posted a time of 10:56.61, which ranks sixth on the UA all-time list, to finish as silver medalist to Stanford’s 10:56.34. Notre Dame ran 10:59.46 in third.
Arkansas’ line-up included freshman Mary Ellen Eudaly (3:26.26) and then a trio of seniors in Paris Peoples (52.12), Lainey Quandt (2:06.87), and Gregory (4:31.36), who clocked the fastest anchor leg over the 1,600m portion. Peoples split on the 400m leg was third fastest in the field.
After moving the Razorbacks from 10th to third in the SEC Indoor Championships, Gregory moved Arkansas from sixth to second in the national championship race.
Prior to her distance medley relay performance, Gregory ran the mile prelims and had the fastest qualifying time to the final with a 4:39.46, which placed her just ahead of Olivia Howell of Illinois (4:49.49) as well as Alabama’s Flomena Asekol (4:39.63).
With six entrants in the 400m field, Arkansas advanced three to the final.
Britton Wilson registered a career best of 50.69 to win the final of four heats and nearly reclaimed her Arkansas school record. Amber Anning, who set a UA record of 50.68 in the SEC Indoor final, joined Wilson in the final by winning the first section in 51.42.
Rosey Effiong won the second section in 51.73 and she was seventh fastest among the eight advancing.
Defending NCAA Indoor champion Talitha Diggs of Florida won the third section in 50.79 and was second best overall. Diggs set an American and collegiate record of 50.15 to win the 2023 SEC Indoor title.
The other three Razorbacks in the field included Joanne Reid (51.98), Nickisha Pryce (52.16), and Peoples (52.51) as they placed 10-12-15.