Gray rallies in 3,000-meters to pick up win with career best time


FAYETTEVILLE — Abby Gray’s determination over the final pair of laps in the 3,000m earned her an impressive victory in a career best time of 9:16.98 on the second day of the Razorback Invitational.

Gray was stationed in third place in the latter stages of the race, behind Georgia’s sister combo of Jessica (9:18.64) and Samantha Drop (9:26.50).

With a lap remaining in the race, Gray moved from third to first place and then pulled away for a convincing victory. She covered the final 200m lap in 32.35 seconds and split 67.74 over the last 400m of the race.

“We had some good breakthroughs this weekend and Abby Gray was an example of that in the 3,000m,” said Arkansas women’s coach Lance Harter. “It was a big breakthrough for her and a confidence boost. Now she’s back, potentially, in the national scene.

“It couldn’t happen to a nicer kid, because she had to go through some setbacks and overcome them. It’s super exciting to see her work hard and the fruits of her labor starting to pay off.”

Just as impressive was the effort by a trio Razorbacks in the mile, after each ran a leg of the distance medley relay the previous evening.

Carina Vilhoen led the Arkansas crew with a 4:36.33 to place third behind Standford’s pair of Ella Donaghu (4:33.71) and Jessica Lawson (4:35.56).

Razorbacks Krissy Gear and Katie Izzo followed career best times of 4:37.20 and 4:37.47 to finish fourth and fifth.

“We are flushed with milers,” said Harter. “It’s a big confidence boost to Carina that she could run a great lead-off 1,200m leg and come and run an even faster mile.

“Izzo anchored with the mile in the distance medley relay and produced a lifetime best in the Invitational mile. Krissy’s previous best mile was seven to eight seconds slower. It’s a testament to our depth in that event.”

The Razorback 4×400 relay posted a time of 3:33.45 as runner-up in a tight finish. Florida (3:33.31) held on for the win after both teams passed early leader Texas (3:35.03) on the last lap of the race.

Running on the relay for Arkansas were Paris Peoples (54.23), Morgan Burks-Magee (52.06), Tiana Wilson (53.53) and Rosey Effiong (53.63).

Earlier in the meet, Peoples ran 53.47 for fifth in the Invitational 400m while Wilson produced a career best of 7.40 twice in the 60m prelims and then placed seventh in the final with a 7.46.

In team scoring No. 6 LSU won with 96 points over No. 11 Florida (80) and No. 4 Texas (70). The next three teams included No. 2 Georgia (67), No. 17 Oregon (65) and No. 3 Arkansas (62.5) among a field of 13 teams.

Information from Razorback Sports Communications is included in this story.