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Fact Sheet #15 - The NCAA Championships

SEC CHAMPIONS

The Grand Finale: The 2004 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships is the final meet of the collegiate outdoor season. Hosted by the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, one can expect scorching temperatures on the track and humidity to go along with it.

Arkansas' Chances at NCAAs: Despite taking a hit in their qualifying, the Lady Razorbacks still have one of their best teams traveling to the 2004 NCAA Championships. Bringing a school record 13 student-athletes to the championship should keep the Lady'Backs certainly within the top 20 and potentially in the top 10.

Returning to Texas: The Lady Razorbacks are making their second trip to the University of Texas this season after a highly successful Texas Relays in early April. At that meet, Arkansas took one championship and had numerous quality performances setting the tone for a successful outdoor season.

The NCAA Mideast Regional: In what turned out to be the most competitive region in the country, Arkansas finished fourth at the 2004 Mideast Regional held in Baton Rouge, La. Arkansas scored 51 points and took the regional championship in the 4x100-meter relay. The fourth-place effort matched their finish from the 2003 regional although Arkansas' total points did increase.

Last Year at the NCAA Championships: Arkansas had stunning breakthroughs in the 1,500 and high jump a year ago to pace it to a 19th-place finish at the 2003 NCAA Outdoor Track Championships in Sacramento, Calif. Senior Christin Wurth broke, and then re-broke the school record in the 1,500, dropping the bar to an astonishing 4:10 to finish third while Jessica Johnson was the high jump national runner-up with her clearance of 6-1.25.

2003 NCAA Outdoor Track Championships
Sacramento, Calif.
1. LSU 64
2. Texas 50
3. South Carolina 47
4. Florida 36
5. Nebraska 33
6. Indiana 32
7. North Carolina 30
8. UCLA 28
9. Stanford 27
10. Penn State 24
19. Arkansas 13.5

Championships Schedule: The NCAA Outdoor Track Championships are competed over four days with several events taking on three rounds of competition over that time. Lady Razorbacks are scheduled to compete on each day with the majority of their competitors taking the track on Wednesday. Thursday is also a big day late (after 6:45), with Friday and Saturday to be determined after the qualifying rounds.

The Rounds: The preliminary rounds of the NCAA Championships are there to trim down the fields to 18 competitors in their respective events. The semifinals cut the field down to nine for each final. In the distance races, 12 athletes advance from the prelims to the finals. Field event qualifying takes the number of competitors to around 12.

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.

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.

Arkansas Competitors: The Lady Razorbacks bring 13 athletes to the NCAA Championships with the possibility of sending 14. Already scheduled and ready to go are Erin Anderson, Londa Bevins, Veronica Campbell, Aneita Denton, Laura Jakosky, Jessica Johnson, Jennifer (Culp) Lincoln, Kerri-Ann Mitchell, LaShaunte'a Moore, Shaneatra Neely, Maureen Scott Shannon Spaulding and Kasia Williams. Arkansas athletes are competing in the 100, 200, 800, 1,500, steeplechase, 10,000, 100 hurdles, 4x100 relay, high jump and pole vault.

Missing the Championships: Absent from the 2004 NCAA Championships is Erica Sigmont who injured her left foot at the Mideast Regional Championship and is unable to compete at the national meet. Sigmont's addition would have brought Arkansas' total number of athletes to 13.

On the Preverbal Bubble: Arkansas junior Shiloh Whiting is on the bubble to go to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the steeplechase. Arkansas head coach Lance Harter received a phone call from the NCAA Track and Field Committee stating that she should get in, but she was not included on the list of competing athletes. Should Whiting get the nod, Arkansas has 13 athletes at the national championship.

Spaulding Gets In: Due to injured student-athletes pulling themselves out of the NCAA Outdoor Championships, Arkansas was given some good news when they heard that senior Shannon Spaulding was added to the 1,500-meter run. Spaulding, a Texas native, has a career best 4:21.90 in the event, which she ran at the SEC Championships and could be a factor in making the finals of the competition. Spaulding has run better as of late and might be able to work her way into the finals should it become a tactical race.

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 is familiar with the University of Texas track when it comes to the steeplechase. Scott competed there in early April and ran what was then a career best when she took the Texas Relays Championship at Mike A. Myers Stadium. Scott became Arkansas' second Texas Relays steeplechase champion following in the footsteps of former Lady'Back Lilli Kleinmann.

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 16th fastest time in the nation, Scott is forecasted to finish eighth at the NCAA meet according to the Trackwire Dandy Dozen.

CoSIDA Academic All-District: The Lady Razorbacks picked up a pair of CoSIDA Academic all-District Selections when senior Jessica Johnson and sophomore Maureen Scott were each placed on the first team. For Johnson it's her second first-team all-District selection while Scott earns her first honor in her first attempt at the team. The pair now goes on to the national ballot where they attempt to become academic all-Americans.

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.

Mideast Runner-up: For the second straight year, Jessica Johnson finished the Mideast regional as the runner-up in the high jump. Clearing 5-10.5, Johnson walked away from the competition after securing her spot at the national meet to rest an already sore foot.

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.

Sixth Fastest: Londa Bevins improved on her Mt. SAC Relays time when she competed at the Cardinal Invitational. Bevins clocked 4:16.56 to post what would end as the nation's sixth fastest time.

Toughness and Speed: Londa Bevins looked very strong at the SEC Championships as she competed and scored in two events, and 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.

The Vault: Just when some thought that the Lady Razorback vaulters were out of the picture, here they come again. Arkansas is taking two pole vaulters to the NCAA Championships by way of auto qualifying at the regional championship. Led by senior Jennifer (Culp) Lincoln, junior Erin Anderson also made the squad as she continues to battle back from an injury.

Mrs. Clutch: Jennifer (Culp) Lincoln has become known as Mrs. Clutch to the Arkansas faithful thanks to her Southeastern Conference and national championship performances. The former SEC Championship record holder, has finished as the conference runner-up three times and the third-place finisher once. A two-time all-American, Lincoln seeks her third honor at the 2004 meet.

Not Her First Dance: While she is a two-time all-American, Jennifer Lincoln has not earned an all-America honor outdoors. Despite that, the 2004 NCAA Outdoor meet is not her first time at the championship. Lincoln was a participant at the 2003 meet in Sacramento, Calif., but failed to make it out of the preliminary rounds with a no height in some tough winds.

Coming Through: Junior Erin Anderson barely missed the 2004 NCAA Indoor Championships due to an injury that sidelined her for most of the outdoor season, but once again healthy and the Texas native is starting to heat up. Anderson finished fifth at the Mideast Regional to earn a spot at the national meet.

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 Three and Eight: Veronica Campbell's performances at the SEC Championships rank her among the world's elite sprinters. She currently holds the third 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 eighth fastest time and is the seventh fastest woman at 11.10. Those ranked ahead of her include Lauryn Williams (USA-Miami (Fla.)), Sherone Simpson (Jamaica), Marion Jones (USA), Torri Edwards (USA), Christine Arron (France) and Ivet Lolova (Bulgaria).

USTCA Regional Athlete of the Year: Veronica Campbell's performances were so awe-inspiring during both the indoor and outdoor seasons that she was named the United States Track Coaches Association's South Central Region Track Athlete of the Year. She is Arkansas' first woman to win the indoor and outdoor honors in the same season.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Third at the Regionals: Junior LaShaunte'a Moore has been a huge plus to the Lady Razorback track team this spring. At the Mideast Regional, Moore finished third in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes to automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships. Her times in both races were among Arkansas' best ever, but positive winds over 2.0 in each round prevented her marks from counting towards Arkansas' top five lists.

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.

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.

Regionals Time: Kasia Williams knew that she would have to run fast in order to make the finals of the tough Mideast Regional and the junior did just that when she clocked 13.08 in the prelims. A positive wind reading prevented the time from counting toward the NCAA list or to Arkansas' records, but the time proves that the junior has it in her.

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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