FAYETTEVILLE – Razorbacks stellar performances in the Wooo Pig Classic included Lauren Gregory winning the 5,000m in a career-best 15 minutes, 34.58 seconds, while Elien Vekemans set a career best of 14 feet, 1 1 /4 inches to win the pole vault at the Randal Tyson Athletic Center.
“There’s no question we had great competition,” Arkansas women’s head coach Lance Harter said. “It all started with our desire to do 3k and 5k time trials to give these kids a chance to qualify early for the National Indoor Championships.
“Then it sort of turned into a total track meet. We’ve gone some weird distances, but we’ve been able to get these kids to think about what’s going to happen in January. Overall, we just had breakthrough performances.
Gregory bettered his previous record of 15:36.51, set last January, and improved his status as No. 2 on Arkansas’ all-time list. She also bettered the 2021 US indoor best time of 15:36.22 set by former Arkansas Katie Izzo at the Razorback Invitational last January.
“I guess I’ve never run in December before, probably not since high school,” Gregory noted. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew the peloton would be good. We had a pacemaker, and it was a bit like what we do in training. Hang on and roll and see what you can do. I’m happy about it and I’m happy to do PR for sure.
Katie Rainsberger paced the women’s 5,000m to 3,000m (9:21.41), with Gregory second (9:21.84) at this point. Then Gregory pulled away from the peloton, leading by almost five seconds at 4km (12:29.84) and extending her advantage to 16 seconds at the finish.
“I know we put in so much work so I knew there was fitness in there, I just didn’t know what it would be like,” Gregory said. “I think having a pacemaker helped so much. She was so even, and that helped a lot to get into that rhythm. Because even when she claps, you can still lock into that beat.
Washington’s Allie Schadler (15:50.59) along with the Minnesota duo of Bethany Hasz (15:52.68) and Megan Hasz (15:58.70) followed.
Gregory’s time ranks him 6th with the 8th all-time performance at Tyson Center, with six of the top eight scores coming at an NCAA indoor championship hosted by Arkansas.
Razorback Isabel Van Camp finished fifth with a first time of 16:17.81 after posting a split time of 9:25.29 at 3,000m. The previous longest track distance Van Camp had run was one mile.
“I didn’t know, but she hadn’t even run a 3k yet,” Gregory said. “She jumped straight from the mile to the 5k, which she is perfectly capable of, obviously. She had such an amazing cross country season, I’m so proud of her. It’s so impressive to go up against this beast, because what it is with 25 laps, after only eight laps, is so impressive.
Vekemans first matched her previous record of 13-9 1/4 (4.20) during the competition, clearing that bar on her first attempt when four other tops missed at that height. Then she improved to 14-1 1/4 (4.30) with a second clearance attempt before missing to 14-3 1/4 (4.35).
“It was a lot of fun, actually, because I’ve been waiting to compete again for a while,” noted Vekemans, who made his Razorback debut in the 2021 indoor season but missed the outdoor campaign. . “I feel like the hard training pays off, which is really nice.
“Today I only jump a short race, so once I get back to my full race it will be even better. I still have a lot to improve. I had a little trouble finding the right pole at previous heights, but once I got to the right pole and figured out my steps, I just had to hit hard and go .
Vekemans broke the Belgian national U23 indoor record of 14-0 1/2 (4.28) set in 2012 by Aurélie De Ryck. Vekemans moves up to No. 4 on Belgium’s all-time indoor list.
Her teammate Bailee McCorkle was second with a clearance of 13-5 1/4 (4.10). Kaitlyn Banas matched that height by tying for fourth place. Nastassja Campbell placed seventh (13-1 1/2 | 4.00) while Mackenzie Hayward finished eighth with the same height. Competing untethered, fellow Razorback Amanda Fassold, was sixth at 13-1 1/2.
In the 3,000m, Logan Jolly finished third in a career-best 9:07.36 behind Oklahoma State’s Taylor Roe winning time of 8:58.58 and second effort of 9:05.05 by Carina Viljoen, an Arkansas alumna.
Jolly bettered her previous record of 9:09.45 (set at January’s Wooo Pig Classic) and moved up to No. 9 on the UA all-time list ahead of teammate Krissy Gear, who paced this race on 1,800m (5:24.39). Sydney Thorvaldson, a Razorback frosh competing untethered, posted a time of 9:30.86 to place sixth.
Rookie Sydney Billington, making his Razorback debut, finished second in the high jump with a 5-8 3/4 (1.75) clearance on his third attempt. Billington, who erased his first five bars on initial attempts from 4-11 to 5-7, missed three tries at 5-10 3/4 (1.83), which would have bettered his career record 5- 10 (1.78).
NCAA Outdoor silver medalist Lamara Destin of Texas A&M won the event with a clearance of 6-1 1/4 (1.86).
The Razorbacks are competing untethered but producing some impressive marks, including Jada Baylark winning the 60m in 7.25, just a tenth of a second off her school record of 7.15. The combo of Daszay Freeman (8.14) and Yoveinny Mota (8.15) went 1-2 in the 60m hurdles, with Mota just short of his national record of 8.14.
A lean to the finish earned Shafiqua Maloney a narrow victory in the 1000m with a time of 2:46.80, which was matched by Oklahoma State’s Gabija Galvydyte. They were separated by 0.005 of a second. Quinn Owen placed fourth with a time of 2:51.43.
The Arkansas Sprinters finished 1-4 in the 600m, led by Morgan Burks-Magee in 1:27.29 as she recorded the third-fastest time ever at Tyson Center over that distance. Then come Paris Peoples (1:28.86), Rosey Effiong (1:30.26) and Britton Wilson (1:30.34).
A pair of untethered 4×400 stints involving the Razorbacks posted times of 3:34.39 and 3:34.72 to place first and second over TCU’s 3:4.39 while Texas A&M did not not finished after the third step.
Effiong anchored the winning relay in 53.10 while Maloney provided an anchor of 52.75 on the runner-up team.
G’Auna Edwards placed third in the long jump at 19-7 (5.97) while Alexis Torns was sixth at 18-0 1/4 (5.49).