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Track Fact Sheet #11 – Penn / Drake Relays

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Track Fact Sheet #11 – Penn / Drake Relays

Another Solid Weekend: The Lady Razorbacks put together another solid weekend of competition at the John McDonnell Invitational, improving on four and adding their 25th NCAA qualifier. Erica Sigmont was the newbie when she picked up an 800-meter qualifier while Stacie Manuel and Danielle O’Reilly improved in the pole vault, Paige Farrell in the 800 and Brandy Blackwood in the hammer.

Splitting Squads: In their final effort to qualify for the NCAA Championships, the Lady Razorbacks are splitting their squads three ways this weekend. About half the team goes to Philadelphia, Pa., to participate in the Penn Relays while the other half goes to Des Moines, Iowa for the Drake Relays. Senior Laura Jakosky is the lone competitor heading to Palo Alto, Calif., for the Cardinal Invitational.

The Penn Crew: Arkansas’ Penn Relays contingent consists mainly of distance runners and field event personnel. The Lady Razorbacks plan to compete in the distance carnival on Thursday night, then tackle the field events on Friday with the distance medley relay. The Penn Relays crew should be done with competition by Friday evening.

The Drake Squad: Those heading to the Drake Relays include Arkansas’ sprinters and select distance and field event competitors. One of the highlights of the Drake Relays will be the 4×800 relay consisting of Dacia Barr, Aneita Denton, Paige Farrell and Erica Sigmont.

Blackwood Sets the Record: After only three attempts during the outdoor season, Brandy Blackwood claimed the Arkansas record in the hammer throw with a superb toss of 190 feet, 10 inches. Breaking her personal best in the event by four feet, Blackwood is coming off a tremendous indoor season with the weight throw which has helped her outside.

Blackwood Qualifies: After earning all-America honors for the first time at the NCAA indoor meet in the weight throw, Brandy Blackwood continued to impress in what has been an unbelievable season in 2005. Blackwood posted her first qualifier in the hammer throw with a strong toss of 183 feet, nine inches, well beyond the regional qualifier that sits at 177-8.

The Weight Throw Mark: Brandy Blackwood looked solid throughout her junior year indoors, but what was not mentioned much was that she was coming off knee surgery in the fall which started her behind the eight ball. She flourished during the outdoor season and now is looking better than ever as she crushed Marie LeJour’s school record in the weight throw by two feet with a toss of 65-11. She has since broken her own school record with another tremendous toss of 66-2.5.

The Schedules: The Lady Razorbacks have their work cut out for them in each of their respective venues if they wish to keep up with what the others are doing. The Penn Relays contingent begins on Thursday morning at 10 a.m. with the collegiate high jump and goes throughout the day and night. They begin again on Friday at 1:20 p.m. and finish around 3:30 p.m. Drake’s lineup consists of action on Friday and Saturday with the steeplechase leading things off at 12:40 p.m. on the 29th. Arkansas will also compete in a pair of relays on Friday before moving on to the 4×800 at 1:50 p.m. Saturday and hurdles finals shortly after.

Trackwire Rankings: The Lady Razorbacks opened the 2005 outdoor track season in a similar position to where they ended the indoor season, tied for 15th with 14 points. In week two of the rankings, Arkansas fell to 12 points in the rankings this week and to 23rd overall. Arkansas is projected to score points in the 800 and 100 hurdles at the NCAA Championships this spring.

USTCA Power Rankings: After ending the 2005 indoor season ranked fourth in the country by the USTCA Power Rankings, they opened the 2005 outdoor campaign ranked 35th. As Arkansas begins to fill in the holes of its rankings sheet, it moves back up the charts from 43rd a week ago to 40th this week.



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