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
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
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 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.
||12th, 22 pts.
||25th, 196.66 pts.
||10th, 25 pts.
||34th, 216.63 pts.
||9th, 25 pts.
||46th, 253.49 pts.
||11th, 22 pts.
||T11th, 21 pts.
||46th, 310.93 pts.
||11th, 22 pts.
||50th, 310.93 pts.
||4th, 44 pts.
||30th, 348.28 pts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.