Finishes Seventh at Penn
PHILADELPHIA - In what might be a preview
of the 2003 NCAA Outdoor track and field championships 100-meter hurdles
final, junior Shaneatra Neely finished seventh at the Penn Relays in the
University of Arkansas Lady Razorbacks' lone race on the final day of
the prestigious event that regularly brings more than 50,000 fans from
across the globe.
Qualifying for the finals by finishing second
in her preliminaries heat on Friday, Neely stepped to the line against
seven other individuals that all rank among the top 10 in the nation for
the event. Undaunted, Arkansas' best hurdler met her challenge head on
as she sprang from the blocks ahead of the competition. Touching down
after the first hurdle ahead of the field Neely continued to press and
was toe-to-toe with the field through the first six hurdles.
"This was the best field of competition that
Shaneatra has ever gone up against," Arkansas associate head track coach
Rolando Greene said. "I was very encouraged by the way she attacked the
first hurdle. That proves to me that she can run with anybody. Now we
need to get her to finish the race. Shaneatra is incredibly gifted and
was right there with the best in the nation. If she can begin to put the
whole race together on a consistent basis, I have no doubt that she will
be mentioned in the same breath as everyone in that race."
Neely would finish the race in seventh amid
cold and wet conditions at Franklin Field, running a NCAA regional qualifying
time of 13.93 seconds. Texas' Nicole Denby was the surprise winner in
a staggering 13.09, while LSU junior, and the favorite entering the final,
Lolo Jones finished third.
The Lady Razorbacks now begin preparations
for finals and the 2003 Southeastern Conference Championships. Before
the conference meet in mid-May, Arkansas will take a handful of competitors
to Stanford and Southwest Missouri over the coming weeks to polish off
their already robust list of NCAA regional qualifiers.