BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team knew that it would be a contender at the Southeastern Conference Championships and thanks to several outstanding performances at the meet bring 22 student-athletes to the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships in Bloomington, Ind., as they look to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
In the regional meet’s third year of existence, Arkansas has had tremendous success both as a team and individually. For the past two seasons, Arkansas’ athletes have earned fourth-place team finishes and last season qualified its largest contingent to the NCAA meet. With 22 athletes at the 2005 regional, the Lady Razorbacks could improve on their 2004 standard.
Leading the way into the regional championship is defending NCAA indoor 800-meter champion Aneita Denton who currently holds the fastest time in the nation for the event. Running an awe-inspiring 2:02.93 at the SEC meet, Denton leads the nation by two seconds and should advance through the rounds of the regional. She’ll be joined in the 800 by Erica Sigmont who ran her career best in the event at the SEC meet at 2:05.46. Other running event favorites for the Lady’Backs include Maureen Scott in the steeplechase, Laura Jakosky in the 5,000 and Kasia Williams in the 100-meter hurdles.
The Lady Razorbacks should also hold a strong presence in the field events where Stacie Manuel and Danielle O’Reilly each hold top five marks in the pole vault. Manuel is the second-ranked vaulter in the Mideast Region with her season best of 13-5 ½, but has the potential to soar to 14 feet at any time, while O’Reilly enters in a tie for fourth in the region at 13-1 ½. Brandy Blackwood is a contender in the hammer throw and Michelle Martin has strong possibilities in the high jump.
In order for any of the Lady Razorbacks to guarantee a spot at the NCAA meet, they must finish in the top five at the regional championship. Should they fail to do so, there is still a possibility to move on provided that they are in the top eight of the finals, but those spots will not be awarded until Sunday evening.
The NCAA Mideast Regional begins at noon on Friday and runs through Saturday evening at the Robert C. Haugh Complex in Bloomington, Ind. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.