Sheet #11 - Mt. SAC/Michael Johnson/Kansas
Splitting the Squad: The Lady Razorbacks
are pulled in many directions this weekend in an effort to maximize their
regional qualifying possibilities. Arkansas' distance runners and pole
vaulters head to the Mt. SAC Relays, with some potentially competing at
the Pomona Pitzer Invitational, while the sprint crew takes a turn at
the SW Bell/Michael Johnson Invitational at Baylor University. For the
first time in several years, Arkansas will have a small presence at the
Kansas Relays as Brandy Blackwood throws the hammer in Lawrence, Kan.
Last Weekend: The Lady Razorbacks had a good weekend at the John
McDonnell Invitational despite the weather. Frigid temperatures and rain
kept any athlete from competing their best, but Arkansas still managed
to post several impressive marks like its 100-meter hurdles.
A Short Season: With the NCAA Indoor Championships only a month
behind, one would think that the outdoor season has plenty of time to
set up, but that is not the case as Arkansas' athletes only have this
weekend and the Penn Relays at the end of April before they must prepare
for the SEC Championships.
This Time Last Year: The Lady Razorbacks endured storms in Lawrence,
Kan., and fabulous marks in California last year at this time. Thunderstorms
delayed the Kansas Relays several times as Shaneatra Neely was the only
Lady Razorback who was able to post a qualifier at KU. Mt. SAC was a different
story as nine Lady Razorbacks posted regional qualifiers and former Lady'Back
Christin Wurth became just the third woman in Arkansas history to run
a sub-16 minute 5,000-meter race.
Hall of Famer: It was also this time last season that Arkansas
head coach Lance Harter was inducted into the Mt. SAC Relays Hall of Fame.
The Schedules: The schedules for the Lady Razorbacks this weekend
span from Thursday morning through Saturday night at three and potentially
four locales. Brandy Blackwood starts the weekend with the hammer throw
at the Kansas Relays. Arkansas' distance runners take the torch from there
with the distance carnival at the Mt. SAC Relays. The Lady Razorback sprinters
begin on Saturday and run concurrently with more Lady'Back distance runners
and field event personnel.
Events to Watch: While the Lady Razorbacks should be competitive
in every event they compete in this weekend, there are certain events
that Arkansas' coaches are going to watch more intently including the
100, 200 and 4x1 at Baylor, and the 5,000 and pole vault at Mt. SAC. Each
event is significant for its own reasons, but the bottom line is that
the Lady Razorbacks in those events have a chance to qualify or improve
The Trackwire Ranking: The Lady Razorbacks began the 2004 outdoor
season where they ended the indoor campaign in the polls, 12th. A week
later, Arkansas has already improved to 10th with 25 points thanks to
Stacie Manuel's solid vaulting at the John McDonnell. The Lady Razorbacks
are just five points from eighth and are one of six SEC teams in the top
||12th, 22 pts.
||25th, 196.66 pts.
||10th, 25 pts.
||34th, 216.63 pts.
Trackshark: Arkansas finished the 2004 indoor season ranked 11th
in the Trackshark rankings, just off their indoor nationals finish of
10th. Like the Trackwire rankings, Arkansas is 10th in the first week
of the Trackshark poll. 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 opened the outdoor season at 25th, dropping
to 34th after week two, but that is still without several sprint and relay
performances which should be factored in shortly.
Second Woman: Sophomore Stacie Manuel became the second woman in
Lady Razorback history to clear the 14-foot mark in the pole vault last
weekend at the John McDonnell Invitational. Her performance is a personal
best for the Willmar, Minn., native and puts her in elite company as only
a handful of collegiates have ever accomplished the feat.
Arkansas' Record: Stacie Manuel's pole vault of 14 feet matched
Arkansas' all-time record in the event, but unfortunately because of the
weather, won't count as Arkansas' all-time mark. Despite it being an outdoor
meet, Manuel and the rest of the field was forced to jump indoors because
of safety concerns so her mark will not count as Arkansas' record.
One of the Nation's Best: Despite missing the entire indoor season,
Stacie Manuel has returned to action outdoors as one of the nation's best
vaulters. Already ranked among the nation's elite by Trackwire, should
Manuel clear 14 feet again, this time outdoors, she would be only one
of three collegiate vaulters to accomplish the task in 2004.
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.
Specializing: In the waning moments of the 2004 outdoor season,
Arkansas has elected to try and pinpoint events in which its athletes
can be successful and earn NCAA regional qualifying spots. Of the 21 student-athletes
set to compete over the weekend, only one is scheduled to compete in more
than one individual event and just four others are on the books for an
individual and relay event.
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.
Bad Weather, No Problem: To further emphasize Williams' newfound
ability to run with the best, one only needs to look as far as the John
McDonnell Invitational. In 40-degree weather, Williams still rolled to
13.42 during prelims to post the second fastest time going into the finals.
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
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.
SEC Female Runner of the Year: For her efforts indoors, Veronica
Campbell was recently named the SEC Female Runner of the Year. She is
the third Lady Razorback to take and athlete of the year honor indoors
and earned only Arkansas' fourth track athlete of the year award.
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
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.
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.
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 12 of the 21 SEC and NCAA Championship events and are the conference
leaders in three of the 12.
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. Jumping a modest, 5-8, Arkansas' coaches were happy
with the performance since it was her first in almost nine months.
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
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).