Track Inks Four in Early Period
- The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track and field team announced
the signing of four national letters of intent on Thursday, including
Mt. Ida, Ark., native Stephanie Irwin, a pair of distance aces, Dacia
Barr and Sarah Cole, and sprinter LaShaunte'a Moore.
"Overall we are attracting some very strong
individuals both academically and athletically," Arkansas women's head
track coach Lance Harter said. "We tend to pick and choose our early recruits
to get the ones that we really want."
Irwin is the second Arkansan to sign with
the Lady Razorbacks to compete in the pole vault. Joining Fayetteville
native Jennifer (Culp) Lincoln, Irwin bring impressive credentials to
the arena including three state pole vaulting championships and four state
titles overall. She posted a career best mark of 12 feet, six inches,
just off the NCAA regional qualifying standard for outdoor track and has
taken numerous first-place finishes at the Arkansas Meet of Champions.
A multi-talented athlete, Irwin won titles
in the pole vault, long jump, 200 and 400-meter runs, and broke 31 records
in just three years at Mt. Ida High School. She earned a conference championship
with Mt. Ida as a freshman, and then posted back-to-back runner-up performances
as a sophomore and junior. Not just an accomplished track athlete, Irwin
is also a member of the Mt. Ida women's basketball team.
"Stephanie is a nationally ranked pole vaulter,"
Harter said. "She has cleared 13 feet in practice and the fact that she
is from Arkansas is only a bonus. I think that she has the potential to
be one of the best vaulters that we have had. You definitely want to keep
Arkansas recruits in the state and to have someone of her caliber is very
Barr hails from Austin, Texas, but only made
the move to the Lone Star state last year. The middle distance runner
spent most of her childhood in the Virginia area before moving south and
attending Lake Travis High School. A state qualifier in cross country
and track and field, Barr took Virginia state championship honors as a
sophomore in the 1,000-meter run indoors and the 800-meter run outdoors.
As a junior she finished second in cross country and won outdoor titles
in Virginia in both the 800 and 1,600-meter runs.
"Dacia has great range and is a very good
student," Harter said. "I think that she reminds me a little of Tracy
Robertson in her character and is highly motivated great competitor. I
think that she can come in next year and make an impact across the board."
Not just a force on the high school level,
Barr was also a participant at the 2003 Adidas Outdoor Championships,
was a champion in the 800 meters at the Great Southwest Classic last season
and made two trips to the Foot Locker Regional in cross country.
A solid cross country competitor and track
champion, Cole rounds out Arkansas' early recruiting class. Coming from
a small school in Kentucky, Cole finished in the top three at the state
cross country championships all four years she competed, winning the individual
title as a junior. She also took regional championship honors in each
of her four years in Somerset, Ky., and holds school records in the 800
and 3,200-meter runs and state records in the 1,500 and 3,000-meter runs.
"Sarah is very highly ranked academically
and could earn a chancellor's scholarship here at the University," Harter
said. "She is from a small school division and has not had a lot of training
compared to what she will get when she comes here. I think that the best
way to describe her is that she is probably a diamond in the rough."
Moore joins the Lady Razorbacks as a junior
college transfer from Barton County Community College, but originally
hails from Akron, Ohio. A talented individual, Moore was a teammate of
current Lady Razorback Veronica Campbell at Barton County last season
and was consistently right behind her world-class training partner. The
national junior college runner-up last spring in the 100 and 200-meter
dashes, Moore was a multi-time all-American.
"LaShaunte'a is a world-class sprinter that
should make an immediate impact for us this spring." Harter said. "She'll
join us in January and having both her and Veronica here will be a deadly
1-2 punch for our sprinting corp."
Finished with the fall signing period, the
Lady Razorbacks get an opportunity to pick up more signees in early February.