Razorbacks Display Talent in Winning Arkansas Invitational

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Displaying quality and depth in various events, the Razorbacks opened the 2021 campaign with a dominant victory in the Arkansas Invitational held Saturday inside Randal Tyson Track Center.

Totaling 228 points, the Razorbacks topped a seven-team field which included Oklahoma (119), Arkansas State (60.3), and Harding (31).

“No. 1 we’re super excited we got our opener out of the way and everybody is healthy,” noted Arkansas women’s head coach Lance Harter. “It’s a good, strong indicator that people took care of themselves during the holidays.

“Next week we’ll see some great competition and we look forward to continuing to evolve and handle the challenges that are yet to come.”

On a day full of stellar performances, the Razorbacks capped the evening off with a meet record in the 4×400 relay as the foursome of Paris Peoples (53.44), Morgan Burks-Magee (53.53), Shafiqua Maloney (54.79) and Rosey Effiong (53.03) clocked 3:34.79.

They bettered the meet record of 3:35.39 set in 2018 by CJ Elite, which included Dominique Blake, Chrishuna Williams, Diana Harper and Sparkle McKnight. The best collegiate time previously set in the Arkansas Invitational was a 3:37.02 by the Razorbacks in 2011.

A second Arkansas relay crew posted a 3:43.67 as runner-up, fueled by a 53.10 opening leg by Tiana Wilson.

“We finish the meet with a 3:34 in the mile relay,” noted Harter. “We’ve never opened up that fast ever.”

The day got off to a great start when Nastassja Campbell vaulted to a winning height of 14-1.25 (4.30) to lead a Razorback finish of 1-2-3-5-6-8, and then attempted an indoor career best 14-5.25 (4.40). Her performance moves her to equal No. 10 on the Arkansas all-time list, joining Katie Stripling (2010) and Ariel Voskamp (2014).

Campbell has an indoor best of 14-4.75 (4.39) set while competing with Stephen F. Austin in 2019.

Elien Vekemans established an indoor career best of 13-9.25 (4.20) as runner-up while Bailee McCorkle made the same height to finish third. They were followed by Mackenzie Hayward and Kaitlyn Banas, who each made 12-9.5 (3.90), and Grace Ridgeway (12-5.5|3.80).

In the 60m hurdles, a 1-2-3 sweep had freshman Jayla Hollis (8.394) edging out Yoveinny Mota (8.395) by 0.001 of a second as both were timed in 8.40 seconds with G’Auna Edwards third at 8.53.

That was followed by another 1-2-3 sweep in the 400m from the trio of Burks-Magee (53.49), Peoples (53.60) and Effiong (54.19).

Wilson then sped to a career best of 7.34 to claim the 60m over Jada Baylark’s 7.36. Wilson equaled Payton Chadwick at No. 9 on the Arkansas all-time list.

Hollis later returned to win the 200m in 23.31 over Wilson (23.38) and Baylark (23.64). Hollis moved to No. 7 on the Razorback all-time list with Wilson claiming equal No. 9 position. The time by Hollis was also the top collegiate time ever run in the Arkansas Invitational and ranks No. 2 all-time in the meet.

“We opened up with pole vaulters and they put on a nice display and recorded some great marks,” stated Harter. “Then we go into the sprints and Coach Chris Johnson’s group just looks fantastic. Again, that’s a crew that can return next year intact. We’ve got depth and we’ve got talent.

“Across the board, they all did a fantastic job.”

The distance crew put on a display in the mile as a kick by Krissy Gear, with a 65.72 last 400m and 32.10 final 200m, moved her into the lead as she posted a winning time of 4:38.22, fourth best all-time in meet history.

Logan Morris placed second in 4:39.01, a career best by two-plus seconds, with Lauren Gregory (4:39.05) and Katie Izzo (4:40.27) in third and fourth place. Finishing fifth in the race was another Razorback, Gracie Hyde, who improved her career best by 11 seconds with a 4:43.30.

“The distances did a good job, and we ran some off events for some of our personalities,” said Harter. “But the mile turned out to be exceptional. I was real pleased with the 1,000 and 800 as well.”

Kennedy Thomson set a career best to win the 1,000m in 2:46.79 while three other Razorbacks followed her in their debut at the distance. The group included Quinn Owen (2:49.39), McKenzie Wilks (2:52.78) and Laney Quandt (2:57.58).

Prior to racing on the meet record 4×400 relay, Maloney opened her campaign with a 2:08.60 victory at 800m ahead of teammate Isabel Van Camp, who set an indoor best of 2:13.75. Maloney just missed her best of 2:08.60, which set a national record in 2020.

Adoette Vaughan and Corie Smith finished 2-3 in the 3,000m, posting times of 10:03.25 and 10:03.66.

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