BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The ninth-ranked University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team takes its first road trip of the season this weekend when it competes at the SEC-Big Ten Challenge at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., on Saturday.
Arkansas is one of six SEC and Big Ten teams competing at the meet which also features the host Indiana, Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State as well as SEC foes Florida, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. Events at the IU track are scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. and run through 3:30 p.m.
“We are taking about 75% of our roster this weekend,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “This is a definite step up in terms of competition from what we saw last weekend and it’s a great way to get our newcomers feet wet. We had some nice breakthroughs last weekend and I think we can see more of the same in Indiana.”
Some of the breakthroughs Harter gleamed about included sophomore Katie Stripling who shattered her previous career indoor best by a foot in the pole vault when she cleared 13-8 ¼, senior hurdler Makeatha Cooper who ran the fastest60-meter hurdle time in the nation to date at 8.30 and senior shot putter Michelle Rossio who threw a career best 48-3 ¼.
Of course if Arkansas is to maintain its ninth-place national ranking and consider itself a contender in the SEC it will have to see more of its personnel step up. The weekend’s lineup is heavy on the sprints and field events with most of Arkansas’ distance crew taking a break in preparation for next weekend. All five Lady Razorback pole vaulters are scheduled to compete and the 60-meter hurdles race is slated to feature three Lady Razorbacks.
The Indiana University track is a familiar place to Harter and his coaching staff although not to any of the current Lady Razorbacks. The banked 200-meter oval was purchased by the University from the RCA Dome in Indianapolis and was the home to 11 consecutive NCAA Indoor Track Championships prior to Arkansas hosting the meet in the 2000 and subsequent seasons. The last time the IU track was home to a NCAA Championship, Arkansas’ senior class was a group of seventh graders.
For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.