PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – After a brief stint at home, the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team is back on the road, this time to the prestigious Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pa., as they seek their third Relays Wagon Wheel at Franklin Field.
Beginning with several field events on Thursday morning including the high jump, pole vault and hammer throw, Arkansas takes its action to the distance carnival that evening where it stacks the 5,000-meter run with a trio of distance aces in Jessie Gordon, Alison Rush and Penny Splichal. Friday’s action calls for the distance medley relay and 4×1,500-meter relay where the Lady’Backs attempt to win their third Wagon Wheel and first since 2001.
“The Penn Relays are always fun to go to,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “The atmosphere is always tremendous and the competition is top notch. This year we have some work to do in the distances on Thursday night, then Friday we can have some fun with the relays.”
Arkansas’ distance medley relay of freshmen Dacia Barr and Paige Farrell and seniors Aneita Denton and Erica Sigmont hope to make it two-for-two during the outdoor season when they step up to the line at Penn. The quartet won the Texas Relays Championship in the event at the beginning of April and are seeking Arkansas’ second Penn title in the event.
One of the intriguing story lines comes in the field events where Stacie Manuel returns to Franklin Field attempting to defend her Penn Relays Championship from a year ago. Following in the footsteps of former Lady’Back teammate April Steiner who claimed the title in 2003, Manuel jumped a career best 13 feet, 9.5 inches last season on way to victory. Vaulting against a stacked field, Manuel has her work cut out for her if she hopes to make it a Lady Razorback trifecta in 2005.
Along with the Penn Relays, a split Arkansas squad also travels to the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa beginning on Friday and the Cardinal Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif., on Sunday. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, visit www.ladybacks.com.