FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas senior Aneita Denton was named the United States Track Coaches Association’s South Central Regional Athlete of the Year it was announced on Thursday night at the annual coaches’ dinner which precedes the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Denton was given the honor by the coaches in response to her unbelievable season where she has been a force in the 800-meter run. The collegiate leader for a time, Denton ran what is believed to be the third fastest collegiate 800-meter time ever at the SEC Championships only to be outdone by what would be the collegiate record.
“Aneita ran a great race at SECs,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “She has really improved over the past year and as a staff we are really proud of her achievements. She is on her way to great things in this sport.”
An all-American in the 4×400-meter relay a year ago indoors, Denton qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 800 meters with a then sparkling time of 2:05.55. She stepped up her game this winter, running two times under that mark capped off by her 2:01.96 effort at the SEC meet. Denton’s time at the SEC Championships nearly broke the Jamaican national record but her time was one hundredth of a second off the mark of Kenia Sinclair who ran 2:01.95 at the beginning of February.
So far this season Denton has broken the UA 800-meter record two times as she became the first woman since 2004 U.S. Olympic semi-finalist Nicole Teter in 1992 to run under 2:07 for the Lady Razorbacks.
“Nicole was a great runner and for Aneita to break her record is a testament to her abilities,” Harter said.
Denton’s honor is Arkansas’ fourth indoor regional athlete of the year award as she follows in the footsteps of former Lady’Backs Amy Yoder Begley, Lilli Kleinmann and Veronica Campbell.
The Lady Razorbacks conclude their indoor season this weekend at the NCAA Track and Field Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. Tickets for the championship are still available and may be purchased at the Razorback Ticket Office by phone at 1-800-982-HOGS or on-line at www.hogwired.com.