FAYETTEVILLE – After an excellent start to the 2005 indoor track season, the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team gets to take on stiffer competition on Friday and Saturday, January 21-22, at the Randal Tyson Track Center when they participate in the Razorback Invitational.
Arkansas qualified one and had seven near misses for the NCAA Championships last Friday night and hope that the likes of Southeastern Conference opponents LSU, Kentucky and Ole Miss along with Texas A&M, Tulsa, Oklahoma State and Oral Roberts can bring out even more of the Lady Razorbacks potential. Events at the Randal Tyson Track Center begin at noon on Friday with the combined events with running events starting at 6:00 p.m. Saturday’s action starts at 11:00 a.m. with finals beginning at 1:00 p.m.
“Last week was better than we expected,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “I told the team in a meeting that every week the competition will get harder and that is certainly the case this week with several Athens Olympians coming to town.”
Arkansas’ quartet of pole vaulters looked most impressive last week as sophomore Stacie Manuel cleared the provisional standard while sophomore Jodi Driggers and freshman Danielle O’Reilly missed the mark by one bar. Certainly one of Arkansas’ stronger events in terms of talent and depth, the Lady Razorback coaching staff was happy with the squad’s opener and feels that they could pick up improved performances this week.
While several Lady Razorbacks ran in off events last week, each should return to their best races this weekend with some even performing double duty to see where their fitness level is. One of the Lady Razorbacks that exemplifies this is freshman Paige Farrell who is scheduled to run in the 400 meters on Saturday afternoon after taking part in her first collegiate 800-meter run as a member of one of Arkansas’ two distance medley relay teams.
One of the additions to the Razorback Invitational as compared to last weekend’s competition is the combined events. Senior Beyonka McDowell and freshman Whitney Anderson each get to tackle the pentathlon for the first time this season in hopes of recording a NCAA qualifier. McDowell has participated in just one pentathlon during her career and set the UA record for a 60-meter hurdles race within a combined event schedule when she ran 8.52 at the SEC Championships in 2003.