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Posted: April 19, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Athletics: Razorback Stripling Clears NCAA Leader

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Junior Katie Stripling cleared the nation's best height in the pole vault Saturday at the John McDonnell Invitational.

Forced inside because of heavy rain in the Fayetteville area, Stripling won the pole vault with a jump of 14-3.25. Her clearance ties her existing school record and personal best and is an improved regional qualifier. She now leads the NCAA and the SEC.

"Katie had a great day of vaulting, especially under some unusual circumstances," head coach Lance Harter said. "She leads a great group of vaulters for us and they all had a pretty good day. We had a lot of good things happen this weekend, at our home meet and at Mt. SAC Relays. Every week we try to get a few more qualifiers and we did that today."

Sophomore Tara Diebold finished fourth in the pole vault. She cleared a career best 13-6.25. She improved her regional qualifier and currently ranks fourth in the SEC.

Sophomore Shelise Williams continues to excel in the sprints. She finished third in the invitational heat of the 200 meters. With a time of 23.78, she clocked a personal best, qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships and currently ranks seventh in the SEC.

Williams also ran the second leg of the 4x100-meter relay that won the event. Junior Karen Thomas, Williams, freshman Courtney Blair and freshman Whitney Jones combined for a time of 45.75, just off the regional-qualifying mark of 45.70.

Senior Lauren Lewis ran a great 800 meters. She clocked a personal best and qualifier for the regional championships with her time of 2:09.34 and sixth-place finish in the invitational heat. She ranks seventh in the SEC.

Senior Etienne Chaplin competed in numerous events on Saturday including the javelin, long jump and 100-meter hurdles. She hit the regional qualifier in the hurdles with a prelim time of 13.88 and a sixth-place finish. She clocked the same time in the finals, good for a seventh-place finish.

Arkansas will compete next at Drake Relays, April 23-25, in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, visit

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