FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 13 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team will send 25 entries-23 individual and two relays-to the 2012 NCAA West Preliminary this week. The three-day meet begins Thursday and runs through Saturday at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas. When preliminary lists were announced last week, the Razorbacks had 26 total qualifiers, the fourth-highest figure in the NCAA.
The team’s overall total also includes Makeba Alcide in the heptathlon, an event not competed during the preliminary weekend. After qualifying rounds in Austin, the top 12 in each event will advance to the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships which will be held June 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa.
"Essentially, this meet is the gatekeeper," head coach Lance Harter said. "It allows us to get in a preliminary round or two, depending on your event, to get into the NCAA Championships. We have our largest contingent ever and now it’s just a matter of who can stay in those top-12 positions to ultimately represent the West and the University of Arkansas at the NCAA Championships."
The Razorbacks are part of a crowded West Preliminary field of ranked teams that also includes No. 2 Kansas, No. 4 Texas, No. 5 Oregon, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 8 Arizona, No. 10 Stanford, No. 11 Texas Tech, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 16 Oklahoma, No. 17 Illinois State, No. 18 Southern Illinois, No. 19 Illinois, No. 21 Baylor, No. 23 USC and No. 25 Iowa State.
With the exception of the 3,000-meter steeplechase, 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters, each running event will feature two rounds of competition this weekend. Each field event will take the top-12 competitors after one round of qualifying. The Razorbacks have at least one competitor in 14 of 20 events, including a team-high three entries in the 400 meters, 3,000-meter steeplechase and pole vault. Tiffany Hines (100m, 200m) and Brittany Hyter (100mH, 400mH) are the only Razorbacks entered in two individual events.
With her season-high score of 5,621 points at the Drake Relays, Alcide earned a spot at the NCAA Championships in the heptathlon. The Razorback junior will enter the meet as the No. 12 national qualifier in the event. This will mark her second consecutive trip to the national meet after a 14th-place finish in the heptathlon last season. Alcide is scheduled to compete this weekend as an individual qualifier in the high jump.
"You get tested by the fire," Harter said. "If you get in the heat enough you’re eventually going to become seasoned to it. There’s no hotter competition than the SEC, so we’re battle tested. Hopefully, we’re not battle fatigued and can go into the preliminary meet to fend for ourselves."
Based on the number of national entries for the preliminary weekend, Arkansas held steady at No. 13 in the May 21 release of the USTFCCCA rankings. The Razorbacks are one of 16 top-25 teams competing in Austin this weekend. Arkansas is the only team from the SEC in the region.
Meet coverage for the 2012 NCAA West Preliminary will including live results and interactive blog which begins at 1 p.m. (CT) each day. For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
NCAA West Preliminary Entries(number represents event ranking among West Preliminary qualifiers)100m21. Tiffany Hines, 11.53
200m12. Tiffany Hines, 23.51
400m4. Regina George, 51.799. Whitney Jones, 52.7028. Gwendolyn Flowers, 53.65
800m16. Martine Borge, 2:06.5429. Samantha Learch, 2:07.82
1,500m4. Kristen Gillespie, 4:13.339. Keri Wood, 4:18.84
5,000m14. Dominique Scott, 16:12.6930. Kaitlin Flattmann, 16:30.90
100mH7. Ivanique Kemp, 13.2013. Brittany Hyter, 13.32
400mH19. Brittany Hyter, 58.44
3,000m Steeplechase10. Grace Heymsfield, 10:13.4120. Cali George, 10:20.4839. Shannon Klenke, 10:31.23
4x100m7. Flowers/George/Hines/Jones, 44.01
4x400m3. George/Jones/Williams/Flowers, 3:31.16
High Jump27. Makeba Alcide, 1.76m/5-9.2528. Kirsten Hesseltine, 1.75m/5-8.75
Pole Vault1. Tina Sutej, 4.55m/14-1121. Tara Diebold, 4.15m/13-7.2531. Danielle Nowell, 4.05m/13-3.5
Long Jump41. Tamara Myers, 5.90m/19-4.25