– On the heels of a victory from its 4x400-meter relay team, the No. 3 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team came out on top of a tight team race with a team victory Sunday at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks scored 114.5 points during the three-day conference meet to secure the program’s fourth SEC indoor title, and first since 2003.
With this weekend’s result, the program has now won 20 SEC team titles overall—13 cross country, four indoor, three outdoor. The Razorbacks won on their home track for the second time in school history (2000). Arkansas finished the weekend with three SEC event titles, adding two to its board Sunday with wins by Regina George
at 400 meter and in the 4x400-meter relay, the final event of the meet. Makeba Alcide
set the collegiate record in the pentathlon Friday on her way to a victory in the five-event competition.
“It came down to the last event which is perfect for us,” head coach Lance Harter
said. “We knew it was going to be a four-team battle. We just didn’t know what order it was going to be. We kept the people in the stands and kept the meet exciting when it came down to the last event.
“Makeba was huge for us over the weekend and we picked up some points in the high jump and then the 5K runners were big for us. Then obviously picking up the DMR and 4x4 (relay) at the end was big for us.”
Arkansas and LSU battled back-and-fourth through 16 events and heading into the final event—the 4x400-meter relay—the Razorbacks held a one-point lead on the scoreboard. The home team responded with a school-record win in the event with Chrishuna Williams
, Sparkle McKnight
, Gwendolyn Flowers
and George combining for a time of 3:29.60. The win gave Arkansas its third SEC 4x400 relay title in four years and clinched the team’s top spot in the standings.
The Razorbacks’ time of 3:29.60 makes the current team the only one in school history to combine for a sub-3:30 performance. The previous record of 3:30.08 was set back in 2011 by the team of Flowers, George, Whitney Jones
and Shelise Williams. Arkansas also won the 4x400-meter conference title in 2010 and 2011. With their time Sunday, the Razorbacks own the No. 1 time in the NCAA.
George was responsible for an individual title of her own Sunday with a school-record and NCAA-leading performance at 400 meters. Running in the second section of the timed final, the Razorback senior pulled away over the final 200 meters and crossed the line in a time of 51.40, further lowering the school mark she has now broken three times this year. George’s win is Arkansas’ third SEC title in four year at 400 meters; Williams was a back-to-back champion in 2010 and 2011.
“If you want it this bad, you have to go for it,” George said. “It helped a lot having it at home and the fans really lifted our spirits. I couldn’t be more excited to win an SEC title at home during my senior season. I feel stronger than I thought. Mentally it was tough, but I knew the training I’ve been doing would help me. We train hard every day so it’s just like practice. You have to compete.”
George also turned in a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter final. She clocked in at 23.17 after her personal-best time of 23.00 in Saturday’s preliminary. McKnight established a personal best of her own Sunday with a time of 52.77 to finish sixth at 400 meters. The junior transfer was making her debut appearance for Arkansas at the SEC Championships.
Throughout the day, the Razorbacks picked up valuable bunches of points in the events where they had multiple entries. The largest collection of points came in the 5,000 meters. Led by a third-place finish from Diane Robison
, Arkansas scored 15 points in the long-distance race to set up its fantastic finish. In addition to, Dominique Scott
finished in fifth place, Shannon Klenke
was sixth and Semehar Tesfaye
In the high jump, Alcide returned from Friday’s pentathlon win for a fourth-place finish. She had a final clearance of 1.84m/6-0.5 to score five points toward the team’s total. Teammate Kirsten Hesseltine
tied for fifth in the event which translated to 3.5 points. She had a personal-best clearance of 1.80m/5-10.75 on the day. The Razorbacks also picked up eight points from three runners in the mile with a 5-6-8 finish by Grace Heymsfield
, Keri Wood
and Jessica Kamilos
Heymsfield and Wood were also part of Arkansas’ runner-up performance in the distance-medley relay. Heymsfield led off and Wood was the anchor with Ivanique Kemp
and Martine Borge
in the middle. The Razorbacks finished the race with a time of 11:14.41. The result gave the team its one-point lead going into the 4x400-meter relay.
In their individual races Sunday, Kemp finished fifth in the 60-meter hurdles while Borge was seventh at 800 meters. During the DMR, sophomore Tamara Myers
turned in a personal-best performance in the triple jump with a final mark of 13.06m/42-10.25. That jump represents the third-best jump in school history. Myers was solid all weekend with a personal best and fourth-place finish in Saturday’s long jump competition.
This weekend’s event was the first of two postseason hosting duties for the Razorbacks. For the 11th time in program history, Arkansas and the Randal Tyson Track Center will serve as the host for the NCAA Indoor Championships. The national meet will be contested March 8-9 in Fayetteville. For tickets, visit the Razorback Ticket Center on Razorback Road by Baum Stadium, log on to the online ticket office at ArkansasRazorbacks.com or call 800/982-HOGS (4647).
The official hash tag of the 2013 SEC Indoor Championships is #SECTF. 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.
1. Arkansas – 114.5
2. LSU – 109.5
3. Texas A&M – 88
4. Florida – 87.5
5. Georgia – 52.5
6. South Carolina – 50
7. Kentucky – 34
8. Tennessee – 29
9. Missouri – 28
10. Alabama – 25
11. Mississippi State – 18
12. Ole Miss – 11
13. Auburn – 9
14. Vanderbilt – 5
4. Regina George
– 23.17 [5 points]
1. Regina George
– 51.40 [10 points] [SR]
6. Sparkle McKnight
– 52.77 
7. Martine Borge
– 2:07.62 [2 points]
5. Grace Heymsfield
– 4:43.16 [4 points]
6. Keri Wood
– 4:43.58 
8. Jessica Kamilos
– 4:45.05 
3. Diane Robison
– 16:24.19 [6 points]
5. Dominque Scott – 16:35.02 
6. Shannon Klenke
– 16:36.57 
7. Semehar Tesfaye
– 16:43.45 
21. Rachel Carpino
5. Ivanique Kemp
– 8.35 [4 points]
1. Williams/McKnight/Flowers/George – 3:29.60 [10 points] [SR]
2. Heymsfield/Kemp/Borge/Wood – 11:14.41 [8 points]
4. Makeba Alcide
– 6-0.5 [5 points]
5. Kirsten Hesseltine
– 5-10.75 [3.5]
5. Tamara Myers
– 42-10.25 [4 points]