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Fact Sheet #10 - The John McDonnell Invitational
The Lone Home Meet: The Lady Razorbacks participate in their only home meet of the outdoor season this weekend when teams report for the John McDonnell Invitational at John McDonnell Field. 14 teams are scheduled to attend with competition beginning at 9 a.m.

Last Season at the John McDonnell: Arkansas had quite a bit of success at the 2003 John McDonnell Invitational. Numerous athletes posted NCAA regional qualifiers and the Lady Razorback pole vaulters were at their best as three tied or broke Arkansas' school record. Former Lady'Back April Steiner eventually held the record after making the next height, but Jennifer Lincoln and Stacie Manuel were on her heels the whole way.

Weekend Weather: According to www.weather.com, Saturday's forecast calls for morning rain which should clear up by the afternoon and evening. The inclement weather is actually scheduled to begin on Friday evening with thunderstorms. Should it rain on Saturday, events will continue as scheduled unless Arkansas' coaches feel that the conditions are unsafe for competition.

Last Weekend in Texas: The Lady Razorbacks enjoyed quite a bit of success at the 77th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays last weekend in Austin, Texas. Six Lady Razorback times or marks improved upon or met the NCAA regional standard while sophomore Maureen Scott shocked many with her victory in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. In the relays, Arkansas placed third in the distance medley and fifth in the 4x800.

Scott Steps Up: Sophomore Maureen Scott ran very well for the Lady Razorbacks as a freshman and was good during the beginning part of her sophomore year, but the Mahomet, Ill., native is taking off as the outdoor season begins. Already eclipsing her personal bests in both the 5,000 and steeplechase by a combined 38 seconds, Scott picked up a huge victory at the Texas Relays in the steeplechase.

Steeplechase Champion: Maureen Scott became Arkansas' second ever steeplechase champion at the Texas Relays when she took the 2004 title on April 1. Following in the footsteps of former Lady Razorback Lilli Kleinmann, Scott was at the lead from wire to wire as she ran stride-for-stride with Amber Ferner of Purdue.

Conference Leader: Maureen Scott's times in the steeplechase (10:24.00) and 5,000-meter run (16:26.64) are not just 2004 Lady Razorback bests, but the top times in the Southeastern Conference. Her 5,000 mark is nearly six seconds ahead of Georgia's Kelly Cordell and the steeplechase time is 14 in front of teammate Laura Jakosky.

John McDonnell Schedule: The schedule for the John McDonnell Invitational begins at 9:00 a.m. with the women's and men's hammer throw and runs through 7:20 p.m. Field events dominate the morning with the first running event taking place at 2:00 p.m. Most of the early afternoon showcases the 'B' section finals with true finals action starting at 5:15 with the 4x100 relays.

Arkansas' Participation: Lady Razorbacks are going to compete throughout the day at the John McDonnell Invite with the first people seeing action at 9:00 a.m. when Brandy Blackwood takes to the hammer circle.

26 to Compete: The John McDonnell Invitational will feature 26 Lady Razorbacks on the track who will compete 38 times throughout the day.

The Trackwire Ranking: The Lady Razorbacks begin the 2004 outdoor season where they ended the indoor campaign in the polls, 12th. With 22 points, Arkansas is just outside the top 10 in the Trackwire Rankings, just two points from 10th position.

Arkansas Rankings
Week Trackwire Trackshark USTCA
W1, 4/6 12th, 22 pts. - 25th, 196.66 pts.

Trackshark: Arkansas finished the 2004 indoor season ranked 11th in the Trackshark rankings, just off their indoor nationals finish of 10th. The outdoor season has yet to see a Trackshark poll, but it is safe to bet that Arkansas will be in the top15 based on Trackshark's criteria. Trackshark ranks teams based on other polls, rankings and scored competitions.

The USTCA Power Rankings: The United States Track Coaches Association also has a rankings system, but theirs is based solely on performances. The USTCA tracks the top two competitors in every event and assigns a numeric value to that performance. The sum of the performances ranks the team. The Lady Razorbacks open the outdoor season at 25th with 196.66 points, but that is still without several sprint and relay performances which should be factored in after the John McDonnell Invite.

Williams Getting Better: Junior hurdler Kasia Williams entered the 2004 season with a career best of 13.63 in the 100 hurdles, but after a fabulous indoor season that saw her compete at the NCAA Championships, Williams came out of the blocks like gangbusters at the Stanford Invitational and ran a career best of 13.20 during finals to take the invite championship.

Building On Success: Perhaps she is coming of age, perhaps it's coaching, who knows what the trigger mechanism has been for junior Kasia Williams, but Arkansas' coaches are hoping that her trend of spiraling her best marks down continues. Williams improved nearly every week during the indoor season and capped off the year with a trip to the NCAA Championships after nearly breaking Arkansas' school record for 55-hurdles.

Texas Relays Finalist: Kasia Williams was once again on top of her game at the Texas Relays by making the finals of what could shape up to be a precursor to the NCAA Championships final. Led by Texas' Nicole Denby and LSU's Lolo Jones, Williams was with the leaders finishing fourth overall. While not her season best time, William's 13.27 at the race proved that her 13.20 at Stanford was no fluke.

Placing Well in the Conference: The Lady Razorbacks, on paper, appear to be a much stronger team during the outdoor season than they were indoors. Despite not running their full compliment of athletes, Arkansas is still scattered throughout the Southeastern Conference performers list which tracks the top 10 marks in the SEC. The Lady Razorbacks have a presence in nine of the 21 SEC and NCAA Championship events and are the conference leaders in three of the nine.

They're Back: Last week we mentioned that sophomore Stacie Manuel made her season debut a good one, this week we add senior Jessica Johnson to the mix. Both are Southeastern Conference champions from a year ago and earned three all-America honors between them in 2003. Both are welcome sights to loyal Lady Razorback fans.

Manuel Returns: Perhaps Arkansas' best pole vaulter, Stacie Manuel has returned to the Lady Razorbacks in fine fashion posting a pair of NCAA regional qualifiers in two competitions since returning from the injured list. Manuel cleared 13-0.25 at the Stanford Invitational, then followed it up with a jump of 12-9.5 at the Texas Relays.

Manuel and the McDonnell Invite: The John McDonnell Invitational is probably one of Stacie Manuel's favorite competitions from the standpoint that it was the highlight of her 2003 outdoor season. Manuel cleared a then school record 13-5.5 at the McDonnell meet a year ago, her season and career best outdoors.

Johnson's Return: After sitting out the indoor season, Jessica Johnson returned for her final season of collegiate eligibility and opened at the Texas Relays last weekend. Jumping a modest, 5-8, Arkansas' coaches were happy with the performance since it was her first in almost nine months.

Opening the Outdoor Season: Junior Veronica Campbell had a fabulous indoor season and the John McDonnell Invitational should mark her opening of the outdoor campaign. Campbell is scheduled to compete in the 100 and 200 meters at the McDonnell Invite and could also make appearances in the 4x100 and 4x400 meters.

Fastest in the World: Junior Veronica Campbell ended the 2004 indoor track season holding the fastest time in the world for 200 meters at 22.43. The Jamaica native scorched the Randal Tyson Track Center surface on way to her first NCAA title.

Collegiate Record Holder: Veronica Campbell's NCAA Championship and subsequent time of 22.43 set the collegiate indoor record in the event. She edged Muna Lee's (LSU) time of 22.49 which had been set at the NCAA Championships in 2003.

One of the Fastest Ever: Not just the fastest in the world in 2004, or the collegiate record, Veronica Campbell's 22.43 is also one of the fastest times ever on an indoor track. Campbell held the 44th fastest time ever, prior to this season, with her mark of 22.63 which she ran at the Tyson Invitational in 2003 and then lowered it to 29th at the Tyson meet in 2004 with a time of 22.51.

And By the Way: In case it hasn't been obvious, Veronica Campbell's run of 22.43 at the NCAA Championships is also the Arkansas school record, breaking her own mark of 22.51. Campbell's time is more than one and a half seconds faster than Arkansas' school record heading into the 2004 season, 24.06 by Gi-Gi Miller in 2000.

Unbeaten: Veronica Campbell seems to like the 200 meters more than the 60 and looking at the results, one can tell. Campbell went unbeaten in preliminary or finals action at the distance running the race six times this indoor season and blowing away the competition in each race.

SEC Champion: She didn't break her season best, but Veronica Campbell's 200-meter time of 22.67 at the SEC Championships was good enough to win in convincing fashion. She breezed past a world class field that included defending national champion and former collegiate record holder Muna Lee of LSU.

SEC Record Holder: Veronica Campbell's 200-meter time at the SEC Championships of 22.67 was astonishing to watch, but it also destroyed the SEC Championship record for the event by two-tenths of a second. The record had been held by LSU's Dawn Sowell (22.87) which she set in 1989.

USTCA Regional Athlete of the Year: Veronica Campbell's performances were so awe-inspiring during the indoor season that she was named the United States Track Coaches Association's South Central Region Track Athlete of the Year.

Silver Medalist: We mention it in the media guide, but it is worth mentioning again. Veronica Campbell is also an Olympic silver medalist in the 4x100-meter relay for her native Jamaica from the Sydney Olympic Games.

10th at the NCAA Indoors: The Lady Razorbacks concluded the 2004 indoor season with a 10th-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville. Entering the championships ranked 12th, Arkansas improved on its finish for its fifth-consecutive top10.

Elite Company: Thanks to yet another top 10 finish, the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks have been among the top 10 schools at the NCAA Indoor Championships for five consecutive seasons. Only UCLA can make the same claim.

Arkansas Sprinters: The University of Arkansas has been known predominantly as a distance squad, but over the past several years, that aura has changed to a more well balanced school. In 2004, the Lady Razorbacks are heavy on sprint talent, a phase that will continue at least through the 2005 season as most of its sprinters are only juniors.

Zeinner Records First Qualifier: Junior Alison Zeinner recorded the first NCAA qualifier of her career at the Stanford Invitational last weekend. An emotional leader for the Lady Razorback distance team, Zeinner took the first steps to leading on the track when she ran 35:56.63 to provisionally qualify for the NCAA meet.

Breaking a Streak: Arkansas' disappointing finish at the 2004 SEC Championships snapped a streak of 13 consecutive conference meets in which the Lady Razorbacks finished in the top three. The string of top performances was the longest in SEC history, edging Florida and Alabama who each had streaks of 10.

Returning all-Americans: The Lady Razorbacks return five all-Americans to their indoor roster with another two getting added outdoors. Arkansas' indoor all-Americans include Dawnyell Fletcher (two times), Jennifer Lincoln (one time), Stacie Manuel (one time), Erica Sigmont (four times) and Jamie Walker (one time). Joining the Lady'Backs between seasons are Londa Bevins (five times) and Jessica Johnson (two times).

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