Debuts Big for Lady'Backs, 2004's Fastest Time
FAYETTEVILLE - It was probably the most anticipated
opener in Arkansas women's track history on Friday night as Veronica Campbell
set up on the line for her first individual competition of her Lady Razorback
career in the 200 meters and the Jamaican Olympian didn't disappoint those
in attendance as she set the world's fastest time in the 200 meters with
a dazzling mark of 23.28.
Getting off to what Campbell would later say
was a shaky start, Campbell was barely challenged in the race after the
first 50 meters as she made up the stagger and breezed past the competition.
Her mark was a NCAA automatic qualifier, the leading time in the NCAA,
an Arkansas school record along with the world's fastest time in 2004.
"What a special athlete," Arkansas head coach
Lance Harter said. "From what I understand she has had a hard week of
workouts and to come out and still run the time she did is amazing. What
a positive springboard for this team."
Campbell broke former Lady Razorback Gi-Gi
Miller's school record of 24.06 by more than three-quarters of a second
on her race and set the world's 2004 standard by six hundredths of a second.
Russian Tatyana Levina held the mark at 23.34 for five days before Campbell's
"Veronica can do whatever she wants to," Arkansas
associate head coach Rolando Greene said. "She ran 23.28 and shut it down
with 30 meters to go. I'm excited about her future. Now we try to get
a qualifier in the 60 meters and go from there."
Also running in the 200 were Kerri-Ann Mitchell,
Shaneatra Neely and Kasia Williams. Finishing third, fifth and 13th, respectively,
each ran exceptional races, with Mitchell nearly eclipsing her personal
best in the competition.
In the 5,000 meters, the Lady'Backs went 1-2-3
behind a strong performance by Alison Zeinner. Zeinner won the competition
going away with a time of 17:01.49, looking just as strong on her final
laps as she did to begin the race.
"Alison had an amazing breakthrough tonight,"
Harter said. "She ran a personal best by over a minute and Maureen (Scott)
and Jessie (Gordon) also ran very well."
Scott and Gordon finished right behind their
teammate with marks of 17:22.38 and 17:50.97.
Freshman Michelle Martin backup up her solid
performance from a week ago with another good clearance in the high jump.
Finishing second behind teammate Jessica Johnson, Martin cleared 5-4.25
to match her mark from a week ago.
The Lady Razorbacks also received an encouraging
performance from junior transfer Brandy Blackwood in the weight throw.
Blackwood threw four feet longer than her performance from a week ago
to end the competition with a mark of 56-2 and end as the top collegiate
in the competition. Former Lady'Back Marie LeJour won the event.
Arkansas completes its competition at the
Razorback Invitational on Saturday at the Randal Tyson Track Center. Running
and field events begin at 3:00 p.m. with the men's 60-meter hurdles and
women's pole vault.