FAYETTEVILLE – After a long winter break and an even longer off-season, the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track and field team is ready to shake off the cobwebs and begin its 2005 season when it hosts the Arkansas Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center on Friday.
If you had asked the Arkansas coaches a year ago what they thought about the prospects of the 2005 season the possibilities were endless, but in reality they bring a young but talented squad that could in some cases get its first taste of collegiate competition at the meet. Scheduled to join Arkansas in its endeavors are Kansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
“We were gearing up this year to potentially win a national championship in 2005,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “We had the personnel on campus to make a run, but the Olympics happened and we lost a pair of superstars. Now we have a young team and I’m interested to see how they compete at this level.”
Events at the Tyson Center begin at noon with field events and several unseeded distance races. Finals action begins at 6:00 p.m. with the men’s 400 meters and is scheduled to run through 9:00 p.m.
Leading the Lady Razorbacks in 2005 will have to be the quintet of returning all-Americans. In the distances, Arkansas returns four-time all-American junior Erica Sigmont and one-time honoree Maureen Scott. They return one-time all-Americans Aneita Denton and Kasia Williams in the sprints and another one-time honoree, Stacie Manuel in the pole vault.
While Arkansas has leadership in each of its event areas, the newcomers are going to be vital to the team’s success. National prep pole vault record holder Danielle O’Reilly could make an immediate impact as could sprinter Tominque Boatright in the 60 and 200 meters. Arkansas natives Whitney Anderson, Paige Farrell, Stephanie Irwin and Sydney Scarbrough may take some seasoning, but should make a splash throughout the year.