Tina Sutej repeats as NCAA Indoor champion in pole vault

NAMPA, Idaho (UofA) - In a repeat performance from a year ago, Tina Sutej won her second NCAA indoor title in the pole vault Saturday to pace the No. 2 University of Arkansas women's track and field team to a fifth-place finish at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships at the Jacksons Track in Nampa, Idaho. The Razorbacks finished the weekend with 24 points, just one point out of a top-four national finish.

Arkansas scored all 24 of its points on the final day of the national meet with 10 points from Sutej, eight from Regina George as the national runner-up at 400 meters, five points from its 4x400-meter relay and a point from Kristen Gillespie in the mile. Sutej's title is the ninth NCAA event title in program history, and 10th national title overall.

"We had some outstanding individual performances today," head coach Lance Harter said. "You can't say much more about Tina Sutej and what she has done in the pole vault over the two years. I thought Regina George had a tremendous day starting with a second-place finish in the 400 (meters) and then as the anchor for our 4x400-meter relay.

"When you get so close to winning a trophy, missing out by only a point, you always go back and look for where that point could come from. That said, we had a top-five finish for the second year in a row and a lot of teams would love to be in that position."

Sutej was perfect through the competition, not missing a jump until her final attempts at resetting her own NCAA record. The Razorback senior finished the meet with a winning clearance of 4.45m/14-7.25 to clinch her second-consecutive national title in the pole vault. Sutej ends her collegiate indoor career having won 13 consecutive indoor competitions dating back to the start of the 2011 season.

With her win, Sutej becomes the first two-time indoor NCAA champion in program history and the third to win two NCAA titles overall. She is joined on that list by Amy Yoder Begley and Aneita Denton who both won an indoor and outdoor NCAA title during their respective careers.

George raced to a national runner-up result at 400 meters for the second-consecutive season. As the second-fastest qualifier from Friday's preliminary round, she won section one of the timed final with a season-best performance of 52.54 and finished second overall. She returned in the last event of the weekend to help Arkansas finish fourth place in the 4x400-meter relay. George combined with Whitney Jones, Gwendolyn Flowers and Chrishuna Williams for a time of 3:33.29.

Arkansas' first score of the weekend came from Gillespie in the mile. In the event final, the Razorback senior crossed the finish line in a time of 4:42.62, good for eighth place and one point toward the team total. Gillespie was making her NCAA finals debut as an individual. She closes out her indoor career as the school-record holder in the mile with her time of 4:34.49 back at the SEC Championships in February.

In the team's first result of the day, Makeba Alcide finished in 14th place in the pentathlon with 3,915 points. She began the day with a personal-best performance of 8.62 in the 60-meter hurdles. Her previous best in the event of 8.72 came at the SEC Championships two weeks ago. She had a mark of 5.70m/18-8.5 in the long jump, good for her second best of the season. Alcide was making her second appearance at the NCAA Championships.

A tape delay broadcast of the NCAA Indoor Championships will air Sunday, March 18 at 6:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPNU. The 2012 SEC Indoor Championships will air Sunday as part of a 90-minute show on ESPNU at 4 p.m. For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.

NCAA Championships - Day 2 Results

Team Standings
(top five)
1. Oregon - 49 points
2. Kansas - 30 points
3. LSU - 27 points
4. Texas - 25 points
5. ARKANSAS - 24 points
    Texas A&M - 24 points
    Clemson - 24 points

400m (final)
2. Regina George - 52.54 [8 points]

Mile (final)
8. Kristen Gillespie - 4:42.62 [1 point]

4x400m Relay (final)
4. Flowers/Jones/Williams/George - 3:33.29 [5 points]

Pole Vault (final)
1. Tina Sutej - 4.45m/14-7.25 [10 points]
16. Tara Diebold - 4.10m/13-5.25

Pentathlon (final)
14. Makeba Alcide - 3,915 points
    9. 60mH - 8.62 (PR) - 991 points
    11. High jump - 1.66m/5-5.25 - 806 points
    12. Shot put - 10.64m/34-11 - 571 points
    9. Long jump - 5.70m/18-8.5 - 759 points
    13. 800m - 2:22.63 - 788 points