FAYETTEVILLE – The 2011-12 season for the University of Arkansas women’s cross country and track and field team picks back up Jan. 6 with the beginning of the indoor campaign with the Arkansas Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. Head coach Lance Harter is in his 22nd season with the Razorbacks and heads up a staff that includes associate head coach Rolando Greene and assistant coach Bryan Compton.
With an impressive outing last season, Arkansas welcomes back 12 returning All-Americans from the 2011 team that posted a pair of top-15 national finishes including a fourth-place performance at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Senior Whitney Jones returns as the top All-America performer from last season with five honors, including a pair of accolades from her duties with the 4×400-meter relay with juniors Gwendolyn Flowers and Regina George. During her second year in Cardinal and White, George earned four All-America honors and was the national runner-up in the 400 meters at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Arkansas’ hurdle crew will be headed up by Brittany Hyter, the school-record holder over the 400-meter hurdles, and Ivanique Kemp, the fastest Razorback in the 100-meter hurdles since the 2007 season. Both earned their first career All-America accolades with their respective performances last season at the season-ending NCAA Championships at Drake.
The Razorbacks’ distance crew brings back a wealth of experience with returning All-Americans Stephanie Brown, Kristen Gillespie, Samantha Learch and Jillian Rosen. Gillespie enters her senior season on the track after winning the SEC cross country individual title and collecting All-America honors at the national cross meet. Brown owns the No. 2 mark at 800 meters in program history.
Tina Sutej, the 2011 NCAA indoor champion and Bowerman finalist, leads Arkansas’ efforts in the field. Sutej and fellow pole vaulter Tara Diebold each earned All-America honors last season. Multi-event competitor Makeba Alcide returns from two All-America performances in the pentathlon and heptathlon.
Arkansas’ Returning All-Americans (2011 honors earned)Makeba Alcide (2)Stephanie Brown (3)Tara Diebold (2)Gwendolyn Flowers (2)Regina George (4)Kristen Gillespie (2)Brittany Hyter (1)Whitney Jones (5)Ivanique Kemp (1)Samantha Learch (1)Jillian Rosen (1)Tina Sutej (2)
The impact of the Razorbacks’ 2010-11 freshman class was felt during the cross country season and now translates to the track and field campaign. Among others, that class features Kaitlin Flattmann, Jessica Jackson, Shannon Klenke, Chelsey Roberts, Dominique Scott, Ariel Voskamp, Chrishuna Williams and Megan Zimlich. Flattmann, Jackson and Scott were part of Arkansas’ top-15 lineup at the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Arkansas hosts seven meets-four indoor and three indoor-as part of its 2012 schedule. All home indoor events will be held at the Randal Tyson Track Center while outdoor events in Fayetteville will be contested at John McDonnell Field. The Razorbacks’ indoor home slate includes the Arkansas Invitational (Jan. 6), Razorback Invitational (Jan. 27-28), Tyson Invitational (Feb. 10-11) and Arkansas Last Chance (March 2).
The indoor championship season begins Feb. 24-26 with the 2012 SEC Championships in Lexington, Ky. The 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships will be held March 9-10 in Boise, Idaho. At last season’s national indoor meet, Arkansas finished in fourth place.
The team’s outdoor home schedule features the Arkansas Spring Invitational (March 31), John McDonnell Invitational (April 20-21) and Arkansas Twilight (May 4). The Razorbacks will head to Baton Rouge, La., for the 2012 SEC Outdoor Championships that will be held May 11-13. Arkansas will then compete May 24-26 at the NCAA West Preliminary in Austin. After the qualifying meet, Arkansas will wrap its season June 6-9 at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Following the collegiate season, several Razorbacks will continue competition into the summer months. The USA Junior Championships will be contested June 15-17 in Bloomington, Ind., while the USA Championships, also doubling as the 2012 Olympic Trials, will be held June 22-July 1 in Eugene, Ore. The track and field competition at the 2012 Olympic Games in London will be held Aug. 3-12.
For more information regarding Razorback volleyball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.