The NCAA Championships: The University of Arkansas is once again proud to host the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The 2005 Championships mark the sixth time that the NCAA and the University have partnered to bring the greatest indoor track meet in the world.
Eight Competitors: The Lady Razorbacks bring eight competitors to the 2005 NCAA Championships, with six competing in individual races and two remaining fresh for the distance medley relay. Interestingly it is a mix of young and old as four seniors combine with a sophomore and three freshmen to attempt to make a splash at the Fayetteville, Ark., hosted meet.
First Timers: While Arkansas does have four seniors competing at the NCAA Championships, only three of the Lady Razorback’s eight participants have NCAA Indoor Championships experience. Seniors Kasia Williams and Aneita Denton each competed last season at the meet, while sophomore Stacie Manuel was an all-American as a true freshman in 2003.
Getting Here: Arkansas’ track athletes took many avenues to qualify for the NCAA Championships, but all told, each earned their spot on the eight-person roster. Brandy Blackwood, Aneita Denton and Beyonka McDowell each posted automatic qualifiers in their events while Stacie Manuel, Kasia Williams and the distance medley relay were very high on the provisional lists. Paige Farrell’s 800 meters was a question mark early as she ranked 17th on the national list, but with runners dropping out of the 800, she moved up to 14 and was a go for the meet.
The SEC Championships: The Lady Razorbacks shocked many at the Southeastern Conference Championships when they finished second with 120 points. The sixth-place team in 2004 with two would-be Olympians on the roster, Arkansas brought a very young squad to the 2005 meet with the intent on shocking the track world and just about did. Three Lady Razorbacks won conference titles, but a majority of Arkansas’ points came from a young team that will only get better.
Last Year at the NCAA Championships: The 2004 NCAA Championships held in Fayetteville, Ark., was nothing more than the Veronica Campbell show for the Lady Razorbacks as she tallied 16.75 of Arkansas’ 19 points. Perhaps the single-greatest NCAA individual performance in Lady Razorback history, Campbell won the 200-meter dash, breaking the collegiate record in the process, finished third in the 60-meter dash and assisted the 4×400 relay to a sixth-place finish.