NEW ORLEANS – Arkansas women’s track and field coach Lance Harter and associate head coach Chris Johnson swept the NCAA South Central Region Coach of the Year awards as the honorees of their respective categories, announced Monday afternoon by the USTFCCCA. The pair were joined by freshman standout Lexi Weeks who received recognition as the NCAA South Central Region Field Athlete of the Year.
2016 marks the third-consecutive year that Harter has been selected as the top outdoor track and field coach of the South Central region.
Under Harter’s watch, Arkansas has won seven Southeastern Conference titles in a row, dating back to the 2014 outdoor campaign. The four-time national coach of the year led the Razorbacks to their fourth SEC Triple Crown this season and sixth SEC outdoor championship.
Harter coached distance phenom Dominique Scott to NCAA leading performances in the 5K and 10K, the latter of which she posted an Olympic-qualifying time. Along with Scott’s success, Harter was also instrumental in developing Razorback newcomer, Devin Clark into the American junior record-holder in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
The regional award is the second for Johnson since his return to Fayetteville in 2012 and the ninth of his career. Charged with developing the sprinters/hurdlers, horizontal jumpers and multis, Johnson’s event groups produced 14 of Arkansas’ 21 NCAA final-site qualifiers.
Of Johnson’s 14 qualifiers, three are freshmen who each specialize in a different event. Additionally, Johnson oversees the training of Taylor Ellis-Watson who ranks among the top-eight best sprinters in the world this season in the 200-meter dash and the 400. The coach of the 2013 NCAA outdoor 4-x-400 relay national champions, Johnson has guided his current quarter-mile quartet including Ellis-Watson to a world-leading and program-record time of 3 minutes, 25.48 seconds.
One of the six Razorback freshmen to qualify for the national meet, Lexi Weeks heads into the final collegiate competition of her first year as the No.1 performer in the event. The Cabot, Arkansas, native ranks as the third best pole vaulter in NCAA history off her personal best clearance of 4.64/15-2 ¾. The 2016 SEC indoor and outdoor pole vault champion ranks second in program history behind the outdoor collegiate record-holder, former Razorback Sandi Morris.
Arkansas will open up competition at the outdoor national meet with the 4-x-100 relay semifinal on Thursday, June 9 at 6:30 p.m. CST.
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.