NCAA Women’s 4×4 — Arkansas Alone Out Front

400 depth: Nickisha Pryce, who broke open this race, did not run on the Razorback CR squad in March. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

THIS YEAR ARKANSAS held the aces: the CR of 3:21.75 set at the NCAA Indoor and an unparalleled anchor in 400 CR holder Britton Wilson. Texas had sped 3:23.27 on this track at the Texas Relays so two teams stood out.

But fortunes fluctuate rapidly at the NCAA and the Longhorns suffered a rare-for-them ’23 edition mishap in their semi. The hosts crossed the line first but were DQed for impeding. Kennedy Simon on leg 1 picked the wrong uniform to hand off to and blocked others as she tried to make the connection.

Arkansas lined up for the final as prohibitive favorite even with Wilson not in the lineup — 2 races in the preceding 80-odd minutes and team title out of reach.

Leadoff Leg
Kentucky (Victoria Perrow to Anthaya Charlton) and Arkansas (Paris Peoples to Joanne Reid) handed off ahead of the other 7 teams. USC, Baylor and Oregon had quick first legs also.

Second Leg
Reid tore around the first turn closing up on Charlton as they approached the break line and racing to the pole. Imaobong Nse Uko moved Baylor to 2nd and USC’s Christine Mallard ran up to even with Charlton on her outside. Over the back half of the lap Lyssa Marsh took Ohio State into runner-up position a meter back of Arkansas at the exchange. Oregon’s stick reached the split line next, 0.52 back with USC, Baylor and Kentucky just behind.

Third Leg
Nickiesha Pryce (50.33 split), the Razorbacks’ 400 3rd-placer stacked yardage on the backstretch. Behind her the big story was A&M’s Sanu Jallow rolling from 7th late in the first turn to 3rd, some 4m behind Buckeye Yanique Dayle, heading into the back turn. Pryce’s margin was about 10m in the middle of the turn, 18–20 at the end. Six teams lurked within a second of Arkansas at the second exchange. At the third, Pryce handed off to anchor Rosey Effiong an insurmountable 2.26 ahead of Ohio State with A&M another 0.37 back.

Anchor Leg
Rosey Effiong, the 400 4th-placer for Arkansas, just needed to avoid disaster to win it. Her 50.73 was sufficient and brought Arkansas home nearly 15m in front in 3:24.07. A&M anchor Jermaisha Arnold burned a 50.17 to roll past Buckeye Jaydan Wood (51.14), those two teams clocked in 3:26.12 and 3:26.72. USC was next at 3:27.42 with anchor Yemi John smoking at 49.47, the No. 5 split in NCAA history. Baylor, Kentucky and Oregon ran in for a mass finish in places 5–7.

“Very emotional,” said Effiong of the victory with the No. 7 time in meet history. “It’s Coach [Lance] Harter’s last run [after 33 years of impressive Razorback performances] — and a lot of our seniors’ and other teammates’ last year, as well. So, I was just happy to be out there and do something that can give them a memory of a team who had spirit and knew how to win.”


FINAL (June 10)

1. Arkansas 3:24.05 (7 NCAA)

(Paris Peoples 51.8, Joanne Reid’ 51.2, Nickisha Pryce’ 50.33, Rosey Effiong 50.73);

2. Texas A&M 3:26.12

(Kennedy Wade, Tierra Robinson-Jones, Sanu Jallow 51.62, Jermaisha Arnold 50.17);

3. Ohio State 3:26.72

(Bryannia Murphy, Alyssa Marsh’, Yanique Dayle’ 52.40, Jaydan Wood 51.14);

4. USC 3:27.42

(Bailey Lear, Christine Mallard, Caisja Chandler 54.07, Yemi John’ 49.47—5 NCAA);

5. Baylor 3:27.45

(Imaobong Nse Uko’, Gontse Morake’, Jasmine Gryne 53.45, Mariah Ayers 50.08);

6. Kentucky 3:27.47

(Karimah Davis, Megan Moss’, Masai Russell 52.28, Dajour Miles 51.23);

7. Oregon 3:27.77

(Shana Grebo’, Ella Clayton’, Katriina Wright’ 52.57, Shaniya Hall 51.50);

8. Duke 3:28.65

(Julia Jackson, Lauren Tolbert, Madison Mulder 53.49, Megan McGinnis 50.79);

9. Georgia 3:30.55 (Aaliyah Butler, Haley Tate, Brandee Presley 52.52, Dominique Mustin 53.25).

(best-ever mark-for-NCAA-place: 7–8)

SEMIS (June 08)

I–1. Duke 3:28.84 (King, Tolbert, Jackson, McGinnis); 2. Kentucky 3:29.95 (Davis, Moss’, Fuller, Miles); 3. Florida 3:30.37 (Elliott, Hollis, Davis, Watson); 4. Penn 3:33.43 (Whittaker, Abinusawa, Niemiec, Nwachuku); 5. Tennessee 3:33.52 (Robinson-Hubbard, Ross, Nwogwugwu, Sreenan); 6. Nevada 3:35.40 (Senegal, Costello, Kalma’, Ross); 7. Iowa 3:37.08 (Dorn, Biermann, Larsen, Magee);… dq[impeding]—[1]Texas [3:28.10] (Simon, Helbling, Adeleke’ 49.66, Oakley’).

II–1. Arkansas 3:25.91 (Peoples, Pyatt, Pryce’ 50.72, Effiong 50.83); 2. Texas A&M 3:27.05 (Arnold 50.61); 3. Oregon 3:28.85; 4. Ohio State 3:29.01 (Marsh’, Dayle’, Robinson, Wood 50.41); 5. Miami 3:29.94 (fastest non-Q ever) (Brace, Oliveira, Hervas’, Hebron); 6. Michigan 3:30.68 (Stephens, Isom, Rynda’, Holman); 7. BYU 3:39.56 (Oblad, Barber, Shaw’, Pontius);… dq—Howard (Morris, Wright, Woodruff, Pittman).

III–1. USC 3:27.88 (Lear, Mallard, John’, Jones); 2. Baylor 3:28.76 (Nse Uko’, Morake’, Francis’, Ayers 50.98); 3. Georgia 3:29.90; 4. UCLA 3:30.55 (Conyers, Pierre-Webster’, Jendrezak, Johnson); 5. Stanford 3:30.98 (Wright, Whittaker, Rossum, Valmon); 6. LSU 3:32.17 (Onojuvwevwo’, Rose, White’, Douglas); 7. Colorado 3:36.37 (Jenkins, Pollak, Drame, Glynn); 8. Purdue 3:36.80 (Talley, Kouyeth, Williams, Lohmeyer).