Lightning comes to Fayetteville
***UPDATE: While the rain continues and lightning can still be seen as of 8:45 Central time, the sky turned a dazzling shade of orange as the storm gave way to a reflected sunset. Check out the new photo below. A decision is coming soon on whether tonight's events will resume.***
The NCAA Track Championships have been put on hold as a major thunder and lightning storm rolled over Fayetteville at around 7 p.m. Competitors retreated to the nearby Bud Walton Arena, the home of the Razorbacks basketball teams, for cover.
Before the rains hit, Husky vaulters Scott Roth and Jared O'Connor made it through qualifying with clearances of 17-6 1/2. Two runways were set up, and Roth and O'Connor were split between the two, so coach Pat Licari was hustling back and forth along the grandstand to advise both athletes, and also try to keep track of the dwindling number of entrants. Only five vaulters cleared that bar (Roth and O'Connor included), and nine more from a lower height advanced on a tiebreaker, bringing the number of finalists to 14 from the original field of 27. Washington is the only school with two vaulters left, and O'Connor was the only vaulter in the field to clear each height on his first attempt.
Andrea Peterson had been warming up for the women's vault when the meet was halted. Also still left to compete this evening are senior Jordan Boase and Gudaitis in the 400-meters, junior Katie Follett in the 5,000m, and redshirt freshman Mel Lawrence in a wetter than usual steeplechase. Sophomore Kyle Nielsen was also slated to compete in the men's javelin qualifying tonight. Brooke Pighin finished up her throws in the women's javelin, but is still waiting for the event to finish to see if she qualifies.
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