Track soars to new heights in Arkansas

April 30, 2019, 12:04 a.m.

Returning to competition after breaking her year-old Big Meet record on April 6, senior Mackenzie Little won the javelin in dominating fashion at the National Relay Championships on Friday. Four different Cardinal athletes set personal bests across the three-day meet at the University of Akransas’ John McDonnell Field.

Little, the reigning NCAA Champion in the javelin, cleared 57.07 meters on her last of six attempts to win the event. While that distance is shorter than her personal best, three of her throws flew further than the second-place distance of 52.75 meters set by Mississippi State’s Sarah Blake.

The senior from Australia has now won each of her last seven competitions in the javelin, a record dating back to this meet last year, when she placed second. Her season-best throw (59.47 meters) came at the Big Meet earlier in the season and still leads the NCAA. Sophomore Virginia Miller placed fourth at 47.13 meters in the competition.

Friday also saw personal bests from junior Julian Body and fifth-year Harrison Williams. In the men’s 110 high hurdles, Body crossed in a lifetime best 14.23 second to place fifth. His previous best (14.42) came at the Big Meet on April 6.

In the discus event, decathlete Harrison Williams threw a personal best of 44.01 meters, which marked a meter improvement from his previous best. Williams, the reigning indoor NCAA Champion in heptathlon, currently sits in second in the NCAA behind an 8,112-point performance at the Bryan Clan Invitational on April 17.

The veteran will be a top contender for the NCAA decathlon title this season. He was on a personal-record pace last year, but fell during the hurdles event and was unable to finish competition.

The Cardinal picked up a pair of second-place finishes from pole vaulter Kaitlyn Merritt and high jumper Rachel Reichenbach on Saturday.

Merritt, a redshirt junior, cleared 4.30 meters to secure her position as the No. 2 performer in Stanford history. While only improving her personal best by a half-inch, Merritt moved up to No. 17 in the NCAA Division I rankings and No. 3 in the Pac-12. She will be a top contender at the conference championships in two weeks. She collected the silver last year.

Reichenbach, who is in the middle of a breakthrough season, moved up to No. 5 on Stanford’s all-time performers list after clearing a personal-best 1.79 meters. Her showing on Saturday marks the third time this outdoor season that she has tied or bettered her lifetime best. Kansas’ Rylee Anderson won the event after clearing 1.82 meters, which Reichenbach also attempted.

Sophomore Aria Small finished fourth in the women’s triple jump behind a wind-aided 13.21-meter leap.

In the men’s 4×400 relay, the Stanford contingent — composed of sophomores Louis Stenmark and Gabriel Navarro, Body and Williams — finished fifth with a season-best 3:11.29.

The Cardinal returns to action on Thursday with the Payton Jordan Invitational at Cobb Track and Angell Field.

Contact Alejandro Salinas at asalinas ‘at’

Alejandro Salinas '21 is a Senior Staff Writer after serving as the Managing Editor of Sports for two volumes. Hailing from Pasadena, CA, he studies computer science and biology as a junior. In his free time he enjoys running, playing with dogs and watching sports. Contact him at asalinas 'at'

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