FAYETTEVILLE – In its first competition since a top-four national indoor finish earlier this month, the No. 12 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team will open its outdoor season Saturday at the Texas State Elite meet in San Marcos, Texas. Competition at the spring opener begins at 9 a.m. (CT) with the field events, while running events are slated for a 1 p.m. start at the Texas State facility.
Saturday’s meet is scheduled to be a scored competition and will feature a five-team lineup. In addition to the Razorbacks, the event will include No. 16 Illinois, No. 24 UCLA, UT-San Antonio and host Texas State. The top two performers from each team in each event will count toward the team scoring.
“We’re excited as we turn our attention outdoors,” head coach Lance Harter said. “Our mainstays from indoor will hopefully continue to be mainstays in our lineup during the outdoor season. We have to make a quick decision about (Sandi Morris) because there’s a chance to even her up. She’s a transfer from North Carolina so we might sit her this outdoor season and stack for the future. Regina is back. Sparkle is back and will go from the 400 which is not her forte to the 400-meter hurdles which is her forte, so we’re pleased about that.
“Also, we redshirted Stephanie Brown indoors and she’ll be back outdoors. She is a formidable competitor in the middle distances. The steeplechase is one of our strengths and Grace will go into her primary event. We add two javelin throwers, and Ivanique is a better outdoor hurdler. She takes a while to get going but once she does, she closes well. Those extra five hurdles are to her advantage. We could also have a very good 4x100-meter relay to go along with our 4x4. With all that, we’re excited about what we can do outside.”
The Razorbacks return six outdoor All-Americans from 2012 with Makeba Alcide (heptathlon), Regina George (400m, 4x400m), Gwendolyn Flowers (4x100m, 4x400m), Tiffany Hines (200m, 4x100m), Ivanique Kemp (100mH) and Chrishuna Williams (4x400m). At last year’s NCAA Championship in Des Moines, Iowa, Arkansas finished tied for 24th place with 13 points at the national meet.
The 2013 postseason will feature the SEC Championships (May 9-12) in Columbia, Mo.; NCAA West Preliminary (May 23-25) in Austin, Texas; and NCAA Championships (June 5-8) in Eugene, Ore. Arkansas will host five meets in Fayetteville this spring, including next weekend’s Spring Invitational at John McDonnell Field.
Arkansas is one of six teams from the SEC to receive a top-25 preseason ranking, five of which are positioned within the top 15. The SEC is second among the leagues in the nation with six ranked teams. Along with the Razorbacks, the conference is represented in the preseason poll by No. 4 LSU, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 7 Florida, No. 14 Georgia and No. 21 Auburn. Preseason projections are based on the 2012 outdoor season—previous for redshirt competitors—and the early portions of the 2013 outdoor season.
The Razorbacks enter the season with four top-five event rankings between three individuals and one relay. Stephanie Brown, set to return from a 2012 redshirt season, is ranked third at 800 meters, while George and Alcide are both fifth in their respective events of 400 meters and heptathlon. Arkansas’ 4x400-meter relay also carries a preseason No. 5 event ranking.
For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas cross country and track and field through the team’s sport-specific RazorbackTF Facebook and Twitter pages.
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