Krissy Gear breaks UA mile record as No. 1 Arkansas wins team title

Shawn Price

Online Version: https://bit.ly/3jLc2Ma

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The second day of the Tyson Invitational provided more superlatives from the Razorbacks No. 1 ranked women’s track team  as they claimed a fifth consecutive team victory this indoor season while the highlight performance was a school record in the mile by Krissy Gear.

Facing a field of nationally ranked teams, the Razorbacks produced another dominant team victory with 140 points, as Alabama (64) and Oregon (62) battled for the runner-up position. The rest of the field included Texas A&M (52), Texas (51), Florida (49), Florida State (42), and LSU (28).

“We’re super elated,” said Razorback women’s head coach Lance Harter. “We ran our DMR to get it qualified last night, so Krissy Gear came back in the mile today and rewrote the record book with a 4:31. She just did a fantastic job.

“We had a bunch of Razorbacks run lifetime bests behind her, so our depth really showed through between the 3,000 and DMR yesterday and coming back in the mile today. Everybody is walking away healthy, so we’re looking forward to even greater things in two weeks.”

Clocking a time of 4:31.83 to finish comfortably ahead of Alabama’s Amaris Tyynismaa (4:33.22), Gear surpassed the previous Arkansas school record of 4:32.48 set in 2015 by Dominique Scott on Kentucky’s oversized track. Gear’s previous best in the mile this season was a 4:38.22 from the Arkansas Invitational back in January while her career best was a 4:36.59 from 2020 in a race on the oversized track at Washington.

“It was a big confidence booster, I didn’t think I had it in me,” said Gear, who split 4:34.25 on the 1,600m leg of the distance medley relay Friday evening. “I went into it with a mindset of don’t think, just race. Obviously, our team is so deep, so it helped having teammates to push me up as well as others in the race. The field was so strong.”

The time by Gear ranks second among collegians this season as Colorado’s Sage Hurta ran 4:31.80 Saturday on an oversized track at Iowa State. Splits for Gear included 1:07.77, 2:17.56, and 3:26.95, while the last two laps were run in 64.89 with a final circuit of 32.17.

“When I looked at the scoreboard, I thought oh, I set a PR,” Gear noted. “There were so many PR’s listed for Arkansas as well as other teams. It was so exciting and I’m so happy. I asked if I was finally able to make the top 10 list, since I wasn’t able to do that last year. Then they told me my time was above Nikki Hiltz and Dom Scott.

“I really don’t have any words for that. To know that I’m on par where they were in college, I guess gives me hope for the future.”

Razorback teammates finishing behind Gear in places 3-4-7-9 included Lauren Gregory (4:34.19), Katie Izzo (4:34.39), Gracie Hyde (4:37.57), and Logan Morris (4:42.29).

Izzo moved to No. 7 on the Arkansas all-time list while Gregory has a better time of 4:32.92 which now ranks No. 4. Hyde added another career best to her impressive collection this indoor season.

In another section of the mile, Isabel Van Camp won with a career best of 4:43.65 with Taylor Ewert a step behind in a PR of 4:43.78. They placed 11th and 12th overall. Career best efforts were also attained by Quinn Owen (4:44.96) and Josie Carson (4:57.46), with Abby Gray (4:49.22) splitting their finish from another section.

A national record was broken in the 800m as Shafiqua Maloney won the race in 2:04.65, improving upon her previous mark of 2:05.52 as the national record holder for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Maloney’s splits in the victory included 30.53, 31.69 [1:02.22], 31.67 [1:33.89], 30.76. 

Maloney nearly won by a full second over Florida’s Gabrielle Wilkinson (2:05.57) and Valery Tobias of Texas (2:05.65). Razorback Kennedy Thomson (2:09.74) finished ninth.

Another event area that provided a bulk of points was the pole vault where Bailee McCorkle won for the second consecutive week in leading an Arkansas 1-2-3-4-6 finish. This time McCorkle cleared 14-2 (4.32) while a pair of teammates joined her over 14 feet.

“In the pole vault we put together three vaulters over 14 feet with Bailee McCorkle gaining the win,” said Harter. “Then our 200m runners showed great depth. The momentum is in our favor.” 

Nastassja Campbell and Mackenzie Hayward both vaulted over 14-0 (4.27) in placing second and third. Kaitlyn Banas (13-8 ¼ | 4.17) and Grace Ridgeway (12-6 ½ | 3.82) both set career best heights in placing fourth and sixth.

Jayla Hollis led the Razorback sprinters in the 200m, clocking a 23.25 to place fourth behind the trio of Kynnedy Flannel of Texas (22.73), Alabama’s Tamara Clark (22.89), and Talitha Diggs of Florida (22.94).

The Arkansas crew included Rosey Effiong (23.45), Jada Baylark (23.49), Tiana Wilson (23.66), Kethlin Campbell (23.97), Morgan Burks-Magee (24.02), and Daszay Freeman (24.96).

The 4×400 capped the Tyson Invitational with a collegiate record as Texas A&M won in 3:26.27 to break the previous mark of 3:27.03 in 2017. Finishing behind the Aggies were Texas (3:32.64), Florida (3:34.02) and Arkansas (3:36.46).

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