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NCAA Championships cap indoor season

BY ANDRES FOCIL
NCAA Championships cap indoor season

FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 4 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team close out the indoor season this weekend with the 2011 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas. The meet will be contested March 11-12 at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium. The women’s competition gets under way Friday at 10 a.m. (CT) with the pentathlon.

The national meet will be streamed live by ESPN3.com beginning Friday at 3:55 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m. Additional video streams will be available at NCAA.com and AggieAthletics.com beginning Friday at 10 a.m. and Saturday at noon.

"We’re really excited about this weekend," head coach Lance Harter said. "We have one of our largest contingents ever that will represent the Razorbacks down at Texas A&M. We’re really looking forward to the challenge and everyone is healthy. Now, it’s just a matter of capitalizing on the opportunities we have to score. We have the unique combination of depth, as far as multiple scoring opportunities, and experience."

When the accepted entries list was released Monday evening, the Razorbacks had nine national qualifiers spread among seven individuals and two relays, one of just three teams with both distance-medley and 4×400-meter crews to qualify for the national meet. Arkansas had five automatic qualifiers and received four at-large selections.

The Razorbacks scheduled to compete individually are Regina George, Whitney Jones and Shelise Williams in the 400 meters, Stephanie Brown in the 800 meters, Tara Diebold and Tina Sutej in the pole vault and Makeba Alcide in the pentathlon. Sutej is the national leader in her event while Williams owns the second-best time in the 400 meters. Arkansas’ at-large entries are Alcide, Brown, Diebold and Jones.

George, Jones, Williams and Gwendolyn Flowers comprise the No. 2 4×400-meter relay team in the nation with its time of 3:31.01 at the SEC Championships. Arkansas’ distance-medley relay enters the NCAA Championships with the sixth-best time in the country.

In the March 7 release of the USTFCCCA national poll, the Razorbacks are the fourth-ranked team in the nation. This week’s rankings are based on Monday’s declaration list of entries for the NCAA Championships. Arkansas is one of four team from the SEC ranked inside the top 25, joining No. 2 LSU, No. 7 Tennessee and No. 20 Auburn. With four teams ranked, including three in the top 10, the SEC is ranked first in the conference index, ahead of the Big 12 and Pac-10, respectively.

Last season, Arkansas was represented by four individuals in three events at the NCAA Championships. The teams also had its 4×400-meter and distance-medley relays qualify for the national meet. Overall, the team finished tied for 15th with 15.5 points. The Razorbacks ended the weekend with 11 All-America accolades in five events spread among eight student-athletes.

Arkansas first competed at the NCAA Championships in 1983 and has had representation in the meet every year since 1990. The program has seven top-10 team finishes in its history, including a program-best third-place result in 2000. The Razorbacks have tallied eight national indoor champions, most recently with Aneita Denton in the 800 meters during the 2005 season.

In addition to the video streams, fans can also follow the action with the interactive blog and live results at ArkansasRazorbacks.com. The NCAA Championships will be aired on tape delay Wednesday, March 16 at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

Download: NCAA women entries_03.07.pdf



Sports Category : Track & Field (W)