FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team stepped onto Lady’Back Field for the first time on Wednesday morning, but the first practice of the 2006 season was nothing like what the players or fans may have expected.
Beginning promptly at 8:00 a.m., the Lady Razorbacks immediately went into one of their many fitness tests before wrapping up the practice just one hour after it began. Participating in what is known as the Manchester United drill which tests individuals’ stamina; the athletes sprinted 100 yards in 25 seconds, and then had 35 seconds of recovery time as they jogged back to the starting point. At the one minute mark, the squad sprinted again and one second was dropped off their sprint time and added to the recovery. If an individual failed to make either the sprint or the recovery in the allotted time, they were removed from the drill.
Each of the Lady Razorbacks looked strong on their first day, but what impressed Arkansas’ coaches the most was the fitness level of the freshmen who went the furthest into the drill. Littleton, Colo., native Kathleen Paulson tied the Lady Razorback record by completing 19 sprints while four other newcomers went 18 times. Of the 17 Lady Razorbacks who were able to participate in the drill, 14 completed at least 15 sprints.
“I am very pleased with the way our first fitness test went,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “The Man U test isn’t an easy one and to have five freshmen go at least 18 times is very encouraging. We didn’t get everything that we wanted to done in terms of tests this morning because of technical difficulties, but overall I was very happy with what we accomplished.”
Following the test, the Lady Razorbacks were released from practice to get ready for their team photo before departing for a two-day team bonding retreat. The Lady Razorbacks will be back on campus and on Lady’Back Field at 9:00 a.m. Saturday. The squad will be at the Northwest Arkansas Mall on Saturday afternoon signing autographs at 2:30 p.m.
For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.