FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team used a tremendous weekend of NCAA qualifiers to move up to fourth in the latest US Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association’s (USTFCCCA) rankings released on Wednesday afternoon.
Arkansas opened the year ninth in the preseason rankings released on Dec. 17, but those rankings were based off 2007 results. The first set of rankings based on 2008 performances put the Lady Razorbacks at 86.77 points and behind number one LSU (201.99), Tennessee (133.57) and Texas A&M (99.80).
“This is certainly a reflection of the efforts of our pole vaulters, mile relay and multi event people,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “Each of those individuals has posted marks that rank high on the NCAA performance lists. We just need to keep improving on our marks and add some more. There are a lot of schools out there that will get great marks over the next few weeks.”
Leading the way for the Lady Razorbacks in the week one rankings is senior pentathlete Etienne Chaplin who accounts for 18.43 points of Arkansas’ total. Chaplin currently ranks third in the nation in the event and according to Arkansas’ coaching staff has the ability to improve upon her already robust performance. Not far behind Chaplin’s point total is sophomore Katie Stripling who earned 18.37 points. Stripling is also ranked third in the nation, although in the pole vault, and is one of just three women this season to clear 13 feet, eight inches in the event.
The USTFCCCA has been ranking collegiate teams for the past couple of seasons and has never placed the Lady Razorbacks as high as fourth. Arkansas’ women’s track team has been ranked number one in years past, but that was by the now defunct Trackwire rankings system which ceased operations prior to the 2008 season.
The Lady Razorbacks are in action this weekend as their distance runners compete in Seattle, Wash., and the sprinters travel to Norman, Okla. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.