EUGENE, Ore. – Currently ranked as the No. 2-best program in the nation the Arkansas women’s track and field team will open up its campaign for its third NCAA title on Thursday afternoon at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene.
The ESPN family of networks will live stream and televise the four-day event, beginning Thursday, June 8 at 2:20 p.m. CT on ESPN3. Fans are encouraged to participate in the event on social media by using the hashtag #NCAATF.
2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships | Eugene, Oregon
Date/Time*: Thursday, June 8, 6:30 p.m. | Friday (Hept. only), June 9, 2:30 p.m. | Saturday, June 10, 1:30 p.m.
Venue: Hayward Field
Important Links: Meet Schedule | Start Lists | Live Results
Watch Live Thursday: Session One (ESPN2) | Session Two (ESPN3)
Watch Live Friday: Session One (ESPN3)
Watch Live Saturday: Session One (ESPN3) | Session Two (ESPN)
*All times listed in CT
Scoring Opportunities (Thursday)
Razorback pole vault trio of Desiree Freier, Lexi Weeks and Tori Weeks will be look to earn Arkansas’ first points of the weekend on Thursday evening.
Lexi Weeks enters the event with the strongest PR in the field (4.70m/15-5) and as the defending national champion. She recently captured her third conference crown three weeks ago in Columbia, South Carolina, winning the pole vault with a clearance of 4.45m/14-7 1/4. Tori Weeks and Desiree Freier also cleared solid bars at the SEC championships, kicking off their postseason exceptionally as the second and third-best performers in the conference, respectively.
The trio hopes to replicate their league sweep at the national level with big jumps over major bars at Hayward Field. All three Razorback vaulters have placed at two or more NCAA championships in their career.
Survive and Advance
On the track, eight Razorback entries will attempt to move on to the finals in their respective events, beginning with the 4-x-100-meter relay team at 6:30 p.m. CT.
Former Oregon Ducks Therese Haiss and Nikki Hiltz will race the 1,500 semifinals, following the completion of the 4-x-100, looking to secure automatic bids into Saturday’s event final. Haiss and Hiltz lifted the Hogs to a fifth-place national team finish during the indoor season, placing fifth and sixth in the mile at NCAA indoors this past March.
Senior Daina Harper will headline Arkansas sprints taking on the 400 semifinals at 8 p.m. CT. Harper enters the meet ranked fifth in the NCAA with her personal best of 51.36. In addition to Harper, freshman Jada Baylark and sophomore Kiara Parker will also represent Arkansas sprints, both entered in the 100-meter dash.
Arkansas will close out Thursday evening with Damajahnee Birch in the 400 hurdles and with the 4-x-400-meter relay.
Freshmen Taylor Werner and Abby Gray hope to keep Arkansas’ great distance tradition alive, racing the 5,000-meter final on Saturday evening. A cross country and indoor All-American, Werner enters the event with the 14th-fastest time in the country with 15:51.08. Gray gained entry to the national finals as the fastest non-automatic qualifier in the West region.
Arkansas’ charge toward the podium will begin with heptathletes Taliyah Brooks, Leigha Brown, Kelsey Herman and Payton Stumbaugh. All four Razorback multis rank inside the NCAA top-eight this season and have PRs in the event exceeding 5,800 points.
Brooks, Brown and Stumbaugh all placed in the pentathlon at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships, Brooks the national runner-up. The heptathlon competition will be live streamed on ESPN3, beginning 10 minutes prior to the start of the first event (heptathlon 100 hurdles).
Arkansas Qualifiers (17)
100 Meters – Jada Baylark, Kiara Parker
400 Meters – Daina Harper
1,500 Meters – Therese Haiss, Nikki Hiltz
5,000 Meters – Abby Gray, Taylor Werner
400-Meter Hurdles – Damajahnee Birch
4-x-100 Meter Relay – Brooks, Stumbaugh, Harper, Parker
4-x-400 Meter Relay – Parker, Watson, Birch, Harper
Pole Vault – Desiree Freier, Lexi Weeks, Tori Weeks
Heptathlon – Taliyah Brooks, Leigha Brown, Kelsey Herman, Payton Stumbaugh
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.