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Lady'Back Elder Sprinters Step Up, Qualify
Kerri-Ann Mitchell        NORMAN, Okla. - Junior Kerri-Ann Mitchell and senior Shaneatra Neely, the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track elder statesmen in the sprints, picked their games up at the Sooner Indoor Invitational in Norman, Okla., qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the 60-meter dash and hurdles, respectively.
        Leading a small contingent to Oklahoma in preparations for the upcoming Southeastern Conference Championships, Mitchell and Neely each cruised to career best performances on their way to NCAA provisional qualifiers. Mitchell got the ball rolling with a mark of 7.39 in the finals of the dash, besting her career mark of 7.45, while Neely shattered her season mark of 8.53 to record a time of 8.40 in the hurdles.
        "The ladies performed exceptional today," Arkansas associate head coach Rolando Greene said. "To put a couple more athletes on the national qualifiers list heading into the conference championship is a huge confidence booster for us. I think that this can only lead to bigger and better things in our future."
Shaneatra Neely        While both Lady Razorback qualifiers were provisional, Mitchell's time of 7.39 ties her for the 13th fastest mark in the nation placing her on the preverbal bubble for the NCAA Championships. Typically, the NCAA Indoor Track Committee has taken as many as 15 or 16 athletes to the championships, but with the addition of the combined events to the 2004 slate, there is no telling how many athletes will be selected from each individual event. Neely's time of 8.40 ties her for 27th in the nation in the hurdles which has been one of the surprise events across the nation in 2004.
        In other Arkansas action, the Lady'Backs had a pair of good efforts in the triple jump. Junior Beyonka McDowell, in her first triple jump action for the Lady Razorbacks bounded to a mark of 39 feet, 2.5 inches. A team best mark for the season, McDowell's effort is also the fifth best mark in the SEC in 2004. Mitchell also had a strong effort as she flew to 38-11, improving on her season best performance by more than two feet and placing her in sixth in the conference behind her teammate.
        Senior Jennifer (Culp) Lincoln, who is still recovering from a minor injury, showed signs of her former self when she equaled her season best in the pole vault by clearing 12-9.5. Lincoln looked smooth over the height and had several good attempts at 13 feet and the NCAA provisional qualifier, but barely missed on her efforts.
        The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Friday, February 27, on the first day of the SEC Championships to be held at the University of Kentucky's Nutter Fieldhouse in Lexington, Ky.

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