Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Errol Anderson)
COLUMBIA, Mo. - At the end of day two at the SEC Outdoor Championships, the No. 6 University of Arkansas women's track and field team is in first place. Through the first three events scored, the Razorbacks have scored 21 points. Makeba Alcide paced the team with her victory in the heptathlon while Semehar Tesfaye added a runner-up finish at 10,000 meters to Friday's highlights. In preliminary action, Arkansas collected three qualifiers for event finals.
Alcide won the SEC pentathlon title indoors and with Friday's result, becomes the first SEC athlete to sweep both indoor and outdoor multi-event competitions since Hyleas Fountain of Georgia did so in 2003. Alcide previously won the heptathlon in 2011 and now has four overall SEC titles coupled with her back-to-back indoor pentathlon wins in 2012 and 2013.
"It was important for me to get 10 points for my team so I was happy to do that for my teammates and get the first score of the weekend for them," Alcide said. "They look to me to get things going so I'm glad to come through with my performance. I was also able to get the 'B' standard for World Championships and got a PR in the 800 (meters) to end the day, so I'm very happy with that."
With her title performance Friday of 5,968 points, Alcide broke the Arkansas school record and finished just one point off the SEC Championships meet record. She eclipsed the previous mark of 5,925 points scored by GiGi (Miller) Johnson in 2001. Alcide's score is also a 'B' standard for this summer's World Championships in Moscow. The mark also broke the five-year-old Audrey J. Walton Stadium facility record by 175 points.
After a pair of fifth-place event finishes to begin the day, Alcide clinched the title with a personal-best performance at 800 meters. She crossed the line in 2:13.66, more than two seconds faster than her previous best of 2:16.22. Overall, Alcide posted three personal bests during the two-day competition and broke the SEC meet record in the high jump on day one. She will return to action Saturday for the open high jump competition.
In the final event of the night, and first running final of the weekend, the Razorbacks racked up 11 points behind Tesfaye and a sixth-place finish from Diane Robison at 10,000 meters. Making her debut at the SEC Outdoor Championships, Tesfaye crossed the finish line in 33:49.78. Robison was competing in the first 10K of her collegiate career and responded with a time of 34:30.93. Both Razorback distance runners are scheduled to compete Sunday in the finals of the 5,000 meters.
Stephanie Brown was Arkansas' first event qualifier of the night with her effort in the preliminary round of the 800 meters. She secured her spot in Sunday's final with a second-place finish in heat one, crossing the line in a time of 2:07.36. Brown was the SEC runner-up at 800 meters in 2011. The Razorback junior is also entered at 1,500 meters this weekend.
In her first of two individual events, Regina George turned in the fastest at-large qualifying time to advance to Sunday's final of the 200 meters. The Razorback senior posted a time of 23.49 to finish with the sixth-fastest time in Friday's preliminary round. She was the only Arkansas runner in the field. George is also schedule to compete in Saturday's prelims of the 400 meters.
The Razorbacks' third and final qualifier Friday was Sparkle McKnight in the 400-meter hurdles. Running in the fifth of five heats, she won the race in a time of 59.03 to claim an automatic spot in Sunday's final. McKnight is competing in her first SEC Outdoor Championships. Teammate Gwendolyn Flowers finished just .01 off the final qualifying spot with her time of 59.19.
The schedule for day three is set to feature team scoring opportunities in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, high jump and pole vault. Preliminary action will continue with qualifying rounds in the 100 meters, 400 meters, 1,500 meters and 100-meter hurdles.
The 2013 SEC Championships will be streamed live by ESPN3 on Saturday, May 11 from 3:40-6:45 p.m., and Sunday, May 12 from 2:50-6:45 p.m. Competition outside of the ESPN3 coverage windows will be made available on MUTigers.com. The 2013 SEC Outdoor Championships will air as part of a 90-minute show on ESPNU on Thursday, May 23 at 7 p.m.
For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas cross country and track and field through the team's sport-specific RazorbackTF Facebook and Twitter pages.
Team Standings (top five thru 3 events)
1. #6 ARKANSAS - 21
2. #4 LSU - 17
3. #10 Georgia - 16
4. #3 Florida - 14
5. Kentucky - 12
200 Meters (preliminary)
5. Regina George - 23.49Q
800 Meters (preliminary)
6. Stephanie Brown - 2:07.36Q
9. Martine Borge - 2:09.60
19. Caitlin Noonan - 2:13.87
10,000 Meters (final)
2. Semehar Tesfaye - 33:49.78 [8 points]
6. Diane Robison - 34:30.93 
10. Kaitlin Flattmann - 34:56.46
23. Valerie Reina - 36:51.35
24. Rachel Carpino - 36:56.04
400m Hurdles (preliminary)
6. Sparkle McKnight - 59.03Q
8. Gwendolyn Flowers - 59.19
1. Makeba Alcide - 5,968 points [10 points] (SR)
5. Long Jump - 5.64m/18-6 [741 points]
5. Javelin - 34.32m/112-7 
2. 800 Meters - 2:13.66 (PR - prev: 2:16.22) 
SR - school record; PR - personal best; Q - qualified for event final
Zach D. Lawson: Media Relations