Jackson takes second in steeplechase

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Freshman Megan Jackson was the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team’s top finisher at the USA Junior Track and Field Championships on Friday, a meet that is being held in conjunction with the senior championships in Indianapolis, Ind.

Jackson who is racing for the first time since the NCAA Mideast Regional in late May clocked a very good time of 10:50.24 in the steeplechase to finish second overall. It was the highest finish by a Lady Razorback in the steeplechase at the meet since former Lady’Back Shiloh Whiting won the event back in 2002 and earned Jackson an opportunity to compete at the PanAm Junior championships as an alternate.

“Megan has continued her training since the end of the season, but you can’t replicate an actual race in training,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “She ran very well and qualified as an alternate for the PanAm Games which is a tremendous accomplishment.”

Also competing in the juniors portion of the meet, freshman Jennifer Fall finished 16th in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:03.77.

In the senior championships, junior Etienne Chaplin began the two-day heptathlon competition, ending day one in 16th position. Just off her average time in the hurdles with a 14.43 into a headwind, Chaplin matched her career best in the high jump at 5-4 ¼. She would then throw the shot put 37-7 ¾ before ending the day with a 25.39 in the 200 meters. Showing a bit of wear and tear after three tough heptathlons this season, Chaplin was unable to duplicate her string of career bests which she showcased at the NCAA Championships two weeks ago.

Also in the heptathlon, former Lady’Back Gi-Gi (Miller) Johnson stands in third place after day one. She opened the competition with the best 100-meter hurdles race at 13.35, but faltered slightly in the high jump due to a nagging injury. She rebounded with a great shot put of 43-8 before ending the day with a 23.90 200-meter run. She is just 20 points out of the lead and has a great second day ahead of her.

Junior Jessica Cousins’ USA Championships experience came to a halt on Friday as she failed to advance to the finals of the 400 meters. One of the deepest fields at the meet, Cousins improved dramatically from her preliminaries time with a 52.44, but the effort was just not enough to crack into the top eight as she finished 14th overall.

Ending late on Thursday night, former Lady’Back Deena (Drossin) Kastor won yet another US Championship, this time in the 10,000 meters as she picked up a staggering 36-second victory in the race. Kastor stayed with the pack for most of the competition before using the strength she has built up for her marathon competitions to pull away. Kastor was the bronze medalist at the 2004 Olympics in the marathon.

Others with Lady Razorback ties to compete on Friday included LaShaunte’a Moore in the 100-meter semifinals and Nicole Teter in the 800-meter semifinals, but neither could advance to the finals

The USA Championships continue throughout the weekend in Indianapolis, Ind. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.