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Fact 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 their qualifiers.

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 10.

Arkansas Rankings
Week Trackwire Trackshark USTCA
W1, 4/6 12th, 22 pts. - 25th, 196.66 pts.
W2, 4/13 10th, 25 pts. 10th 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 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.

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 Games.

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 claim.

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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