FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 4 Arkansas women’s track and field team captured the program’s second-consecutive Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship in front of their home crowd on Saturday evening at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The victory marked Arkansas’s sixth straight SEC title across cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, adding to a streak that began with a win at the 2014 SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championship.
Entering the meet as the defending SEC champions the Razorbacks were quick to put points on the board adding 18 to their team total on day one from multis, Taliyah Brooks (second), Leigha Brown (fourth), Alex Gochenour (fifth) and Payton Stumbaugh (eighth).
Freshman Devin Clark and junior Regan Ward contributed to Friday’s team score combining to secure four points with a sixth and eighth place finish in the 3,000 meter run respectively.
Arkansas sophomore Stumbaugh brought in more points for the Razorbacks on day two of the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships. Coming off her eighth place finish in the pentathlon Stumbaugh captured the bronze medal in the 60-meter hurdles with a new PR of 8.15 to add six points to Arkansas’s team total.
Razorback sprints duo Taylor Ellis-Watson and Daina Harper combined to produce 13 points for Arkansas in the 400-meter dash. The All-American upperclassmen both raced to 2016 season personal bests with Ellis-Watson improving to 51.84 and Harper earning a lifetime record with 52.69. A senior out of Philadelphia, Pa. Ellis-Watson’s time is second fastest in the NCAA and the seventh best in the world this year. A seven-time All-American, Ellis-Watson’s win was the first gold medal performance for Arkansas of the weekend.
One gold medal was promptly followed by another at the hands of Lexi Weeks in the pole vault. The Cabot, Ark. native placed first in her SEC Indoor Championship debut with a clearance of 4.48m/14-8.25 in the pole vault. Weeks was joined on the podium by her twin sister Tori who had a phenomenal first SEC of her own vaulting 4.32m/14-2 to earn a bronze medal and six points toward the team total. Senior Megan Zimlich solidified Arkansas’s dominance in the pole vault placing fourth with a PR of 4.22m/13-10 to bring the Razorbacks’ combined total for the event to 21.
Middle distance crew of Therese Haiss, Nikki Hiltz and Jessica Kamilos put out a stellar performance in the championship section of the mile. The race was highlighted by a last lap kick from Haiss who moved from the fifth position to second over the final 200 meters. The Solon, Ohio native secured eight points for Arkansas while Kamilos and Hiltz added six and three points respectively.
Ellis-Watson returned to the track for a second time on Saturday taking on the 200-meter finals. The Pitt transfer raced to fourth place earning five points for her 23.10 performance.
Arkansas picked up 26 points in the final three track events with a gold in the DMR and two silvers in the 5,000-meter run and 4×400-meter relay.
Regan Ward kicked off the final scoring effort running 16:31.12 at 5,000 meters to finish in second place. It was Ward’s second contribution to the program as the junior picked up one point a day earlier for her performance in the 3,000-meter run.
Fired up from Arkansas’s strong showing at 5,000 meters Razorback quartet Hiltz, Leigha Brown, Haiss and Devin Clark raced to an epic victory in the distance medley relay successfully defending the event title. Cross country All-SEC selection Clark anchored the Razorbacks to gold with a mile split of 4:40.88.
In the final event of the night Arkansas’s 4×400-meter relay team of Stumbaugh, Harper, Brianna Swinton and Ellis-Watson put together the fourth best performance in program history with their time of 3:30.63. Coming off individual top-eight finishes at 400 meters Ellis-Watson and Harper clocked sub-53 times to propel the Razorbacks past Kentucky and cap the night with a podium finish.
Arkansas posted a final score of 110 points winning by a 43 point margin.
Head Coach Lance Harter Sounds Off on SECs
“We started to have great successes in every event in which we participated. We continued to capitalize on the moment and the situation. When the ball gets going, it keeps going in our favor. When the distance medley went down, that crowd exploded. It almost brings tears to my eyes when that happens. It is such a cherished moment.”
2016 SEC Indoor Championship Results
Randal Tyson Track Center
Taylor Ellis-Watson (4) – 23.10
Taylor Ellis-Watson (1) – 51.84
Daina Harper (6) – 52.69
Therese Haiss (2) – 4:39.96
Jessica Kamilos (3) – 4:40.90
Nikki Hiltz (6) – 4:42.93
Devin Clark (6) – 9:28.14
Regan Ward (8) – 9:29.53
Sydney Brown (11) – 9:39.96
Valerie Reina (23) – 10:23.59
Regan Ward (2) – 16:31.12
Jessica Kamilos (9) – 16:44.60
Valerie Reina (12) – 16:49.58
Aubree Worden (18) – 17:16.15
60 Meter Hurdles
Payton Stumbaugh (3) – 8.15
4×400-meter relay (2) – 3:30.63
Arkansas A (1) – 11:14.46
Nikki Hiltz 1,200m
Leigha Brown 400m
Therese Haiss 800m
Devin Clark 1,600m
Lexi Weeks (1) – 4.48m/14-8.25
Tori Weeks (3) – 4.32m/14-2
Megan Zimlich (4) – 4.22m/13-10
Ariel Voskamp (11) – 3.97m/13-0.25
Ariel LaChance (14) – 3.97m/13-0.25
Rylee Robinson – NH
Micah Dennis (11) – 13.62m/44-8.25
Taliyah Brooks (2) – 4,376 points – 60mH: 8.25, HJ: 1.78m/5-10, SP: 11.80m/38-8.75, LJ: 6.09m/19-11.75, 800m: 2:19.91
Leigha Brown (4) – 4,207 points – 60mH: 8.54, HJ: 1.72m/5-7.75, SP: 12.73m/41-9.25, LJ: 5.56m/18-3, 800m: 2:14.91
Alex Gochenour (5) – 4,171 points – 60mH: 8.39, HJ: 1.72m/5-7.75, SP: 12.78m/41-11.25, LJ: 5.98m/19-7.50, 800m: 2:29.81
Payton Stumbaugh (8) – 4,116 points – 60mH: 8.16, HJ: 1.72m/5-7.75, SP: 11.35m/37-3, LJ: 5.88m/19-3.50, 800m: 2:28.41
Kelsey Herman (9) – 3,945 points – 60mH: 8.33, HJ: 1.81m/5-11.25, SP: 9.76m/32-0.25, LJ: 5.57m/18-3.25, 800m: 2:32.24
200 Meters – 5
400 Meters – 13
Mile – 17
3,000 Meters – 4
5,000 Meters – 8
60-Meter Hurdles – 6
4×400 Meter Relay – 8
Distance Medley Relay – 10
Pentathlon – 18
Pole Vault – 21
WOMEN’S TEAM SCORES
1. Arkansas (110)
2. LSU (67)
3. Georgia (65)
4. Tennessee (64)
4. Florida (64)
6. Kentucky (48)
7. Texas A&M (44)
8. Alabama (43)
9. Mississippi State (42)
10. Auburn (33)
11. South Carolina (26)
12. Vanderbilt (24)
13. Missouri (17)
14. Mississippi (16)
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.