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Fact Sheet #14 - The NCAA Mideast Regional

SEC CHAMPIONS

SEC Champions: It wasn't expected and certainly not forecasted, but the Lady Razorbacks brought the conference hardware back to Fayetteville thanks to a stunning 124 points at the Southeastern Conference Championships. Veronica Campbell was a double champion with victories in the 100 and 200-meter dashes while Maureen Scott took top honors in the steeplechase. In fact it was the steeplechase that put Arkansas in a position to win as the Lady'Backs claimed five of the top eight spots on way to 28 points. Other big scoring events were the 10,000, 200, pole vault, 1,500 and 100 with 16, 16, 15, 14 and 13, points respectively.

Individual Champions: For just the second time in six wins, the Lady Razorbacks won a conference title with just three individual championships. Veronica Campbell won the 100 and 200 while Maureen Scott walked away with the steeplechase crown. The only other time Arkansas won with just three individual titles was in the winter of 2003.

Depth: When it comes to the SEC Championships, having big guns up front helps, but it is depth that wins titles. Arkansas brought only 25 athletes to the conference championship, but 22 scored at least one point. Arkansas competed in just 16 of the 21 contested events, but picked up points in 11.

NCAA Mideast Regional: In its second year of existence, the NCAA regional system is the gateway to the national championships. Four regionals have been set up across the country, with Arkansas competing in the mideast. Other regions include the east, midwest and west. Other top schools in the mideast region are LSU, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State, Missouri and Auburn.

Last Year at the Mideast Regional: The Lady Razorbacks finished tied for fourth at the 2003 Mideast Regional in Columbus, Ohio. A scored meet, Arkansas tallied 45.5 points in a regional championship that was dominated by LSU who ran away with 95 points. April Steiner was Arkansas' lone champion with a victory in the pole vault while Londa Bevins and Jessica Johnson each finished second in the 1,500 and high jump, respectively.

2003 NCAA Mideast Regional Outdoor Track Championships
Jessie Owens Memorial Stadium o Columbus, Ohio
1. LSU 95
2. Michigan 62
3. Indiana 60
4. Arkansas 45.5
Auburn
6. Ohio State 40.5
7. Tennessee 36
8. Eastern Michigan 34.5
Notre Dame
10. Illinois 25

Regional Schedule: The NCAA regional schedule is compact compared to the SEC Championships schedule. Contested over two days, the regional meet begins at noon on both Friday and Saturday with prelims dominating the first day events. Five finals are to be competed on Friday, mostly field events, while Saturday's action features one final after another.

Top Five: That's what it takes to earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships to be held June 9-12 at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas. Any athlete finishing in the top five at the regional meet earns a ticket to nationals with the remainder of the field working off the national descending order list.

The Trackwire Ranking: The Lady Razorbacks began the 2004 outdoor season where they ended the indoor campaign in the polls, 12th. Several weeks later, Arkansas improved to 11th with 22 points. Following their stunning victory at the SEC meet, Arkansas jumped all the way to fourth in the rankings with 44 points.

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.
W3, 4/20 9th, 25 pts. - 46th, 253.49 pts.
W4, 4/27 11th, 22 pts. - -
W5, 5/4 T11th, 21 pts. - 46th, 310.93 pts.
W6, 5/11 11th, 22 pts. - 50th, 310.93 pts.
W7, 5/18 4th, 44 pts. - 30th, 348.28 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 it 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 46th in week three, since then, Arkansas has settled into 30th overall after hitting a season low 50th in week six.

Arkansas Competitors: The Lady Razorbacks bring 19 athletes to the NCAA Regional Championship with the possibility of sending another to the NCAA Championships in the 10,000. Events to watch include the 100 and 200 meters where Veronica Campbell and LaShaunte'a Moore set up their blocks and the 1,500 with Londa Bevins, Erica Sigmont and Shannon Spaulding. As for field events, look to the pole vault for a quartet of Lady'Backs, Erin Anderson, Jodi Driggers, Jennifer Lincoln and Stacie Manuel.

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 has taken off during the outdoor season. Eclipsing her personal bests in the 1,500, steeplechase and 5,000 by a combined 53 seconds, Scott began the season with 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.

Steeplechase Champion2: Maureen Scott made it two steeplechase championships this season when she blistered the Ole Miss track for the Southeastern Conference title. Her time of 10:16.01 is the fastest at the SEC Championships since former Lady Razorback Lilli Kleinmann ran 10:13.89 back in 2001, the inaugural year for the competition for women.

Nationally Ranked: Sophomore Maureen Scott was never even a blip on the radar screen for many in the track and field world when the 2004 outdoor season began, but the SEC Champion is making heads turn as she has dropped an astounding 34 seconds off her personal best in the steeplechase this year. Now holding the 12th fastest time in the nation, Scott is forecasted to finish eighth at the NCAA meet according to the Trackwire Dandy Dozen, but first she must get through the regional championship where she holds the third fastest mark.

Trackwire Dandy Dozen: The Trackwire Dandy Dozen exploded for the Lady Razorbacks following their SEC Championships victory. Veronica Campbell is ranked number one in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes while Londa Bevins and Erica Sigmont each moved into the 1,500 rankings at 4th and sixth. Maureen Scott ranks eighth in the steeplechase while the 4x100-meter relay is tabbed for fourth. Others on the charts but not among the scorers include LaShaunte'a Moore in the 200 (11) and Shiloh Whiting in the steeplechase (12).

A Key Factor: One of the many reasons that the Lady Razorbacks were able to walk away with a conference championship was that everyone met the challenge before them. That was never more true than in the case of sprinter LaShaunte'a Moore who scored an astounding 11 points at the SEC outdoor meet after being shut out indoors. Moore was the sixth-place finisher in the 100, but returned in the deuce to finish third. She was also a key component to Arkansas' 4x100 relay, running the anchor leg and holding off a charging South Carolina squad.

Double Champion: She won one title indoors and followed it up with a pair of outdoor titles. Veronica Campbell took SEC Championships in the 100 and 200-meter runs to lead the Lady Razorbacks at the conference championship. Campbell was also an integral part of Arkansas' second-place 4x100-meter relay. She scored 22 of Arkansas124 points at the conference championship.

Arkansas Record Holder: Veronica Campbell's awe-inspiring times of 11.10 in the 100-meter dash, 22.41 in the 200-meter dash and 44.09 as a part of the 4x100-meter relay are all Arkansas Lady Razorback records. Prior to the championship, Campbell had held the 100 mark, but crushed her own time, then the times of former Lady'Backs Elisha Brewer in the 200 and Precious Madison, Brewer, Daphne Harris and Kyla Shoemake in the relay.

Number Two and Six: Veronica Campbell's performances at the SEC Championships rank her among the world's elite sprinters. She currently holds the second fastest 200-meter time at 22.41, just 0.07 seconds behind the world leader, Tonette Dyer (USA) of San Diego State. In the 100, she holds the sixth fastest time and is the fifth fastest woman at 11.10. Those ranked ahead of her include Lauryn Williams (USA-Miami (Fla.)), Marion Jones (USA), Torri Edwards (USA) and Christine Arron (France).

SEC Female Runner of the Year: For her efforts indoors, Veronica Campbell was 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.

SEC Athlete of the Week: Veronica Campbell was named the SEC Female Runner of the Week on April 21 after breaking the UA school record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.19, one tenth of a second faster than the old record. The award is Campbell's second athlete of the week honor.

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.

Unbeaten: Veronica Campbell seems to like the 200 meters more than the 60 or 100 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. Outdoors, she has competed in the 200 just twice at the SEC Championships and continued her unbeaten streak which now moves to eight.

SEC Record Holder: Veronica Campbell's 200-meter time at the SEC Indoor 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.

Welcome Back Londa Bevins: It took some time to get back into competition form, but Londa Bevins' performance at the Mt. SAC Relays was only the first step to returning to all-America form for the Wylie, Texas, native. Bevins clocked 4:19.44 in the 1,500-meter run to claim the ninth fastest time in the country in the event at the time.

Fourth Fastest: Londa Bevins improved on her Mt. SAC Relays time when she competed at the Cardinal Invitational. Bevins clocked 4:16.56 to post the nation's fourth fastest time. Unfortunately, the conference leader in the event is also the national leader, Tiffany McWilliams.

Toughness and Speed: Londa Bevins looked very strong at the SEC Championships as she competed and scored in two events, then helped the Lady Razorbacks in the 5,000 meters. Bevins began the competition with the prelims of the 1,500 where she ran a modest 4:26.48. She came back later that evening with a fourth-place finish in the steeplechase at 10:50.67. The next day, Bevins ran 4:20.24 for fourth in the 1,500, then finished her competition by rabbiting the 5,000 for 2/3 of the race before dropping out.

A Five-Time All-American: Only nine women in Lady Razorback history have earned at least five all-America honors during their careers, with Londa Bevins being among that elite company. Should Bevins take another honor this season she would place herself in the elite company of seven other Lady Razorbacks who have earned more than five.

28 Marks: The Lady Razorbacks qualified 28 marks for the NCAA regional and national championships this season, a solid number for any institution. Leading the way was the pole vault and steeplechase with four qualifiers each, but interestingly, Arkansas athletes qualified in 12 of the 21 events.

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.

Penn Relays: Who knows what it is, but Jessica Johnson likes jumping at the Penn Relays and she showed it again in early April when she cleared a season best 5-10.5. The runner-up at the competition a year ago, Johnson finished fifth at the competition this season, but it was the height that made the track coaches happy as it was her best jump since her 6-1.5 performance in 2003.

Another Record: Jessica Johnson eclipsed the heptathlon high jump mark which she set a year ago when she cleared 5-10.75 at the SEC Championships. Johnson's previous record had been 5-10.5, also set at the SEC meet.

Sigmont Makes Strides: Junior Erica Sigmont struggled with illness most of the indoor track season and is just now showing the signs of what made her a three-time all-American in 2003. The Australia native ran 4:20.37 for 1,500 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays, just off her personal best of 4:19.46 to notch the 14th fastest mark in the nation this season.

Turning it Up: Erica Sigmont eclipsed her personal best in the 1,500 meters at the Cardinal Invitational by running a fabulous time of 4:17.40 and to prove that it wasn't a fluke she backed it up with a time of 4:18.15 at the SEC Championships for second-place honors.

Taking One for the Team: Knowing that the Lady Razorbacks needed an exclamation point on its sixth SEC track title, Erica Sigmont stepped up by finishing fourth in her first ever 5,000-meter run with a regional qualifying mark of 16:38.61. The fifth fastest time in the Southeastern Conference this season, the time ranks 57th nationally, but 12th in the mideast region, not bad for an 800/1,500-meter runner.

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.

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