Sheet #1 - The Arkansas Invitational
Let the Season Begin: The University
of Arkansas Lady Razorbacks have been anticipating this moment for six
months and are now finally ready to begin their 2004 indoor track and
field season. Many new faces don the Cardinal and White as the Lady'Backs
look to defend their 2003 Southeastern Conference Indoor Title.
Defending SEC Champions: No one expected them to do it, but the
Lady Razorbacks shocked many when they easily won the SEC Indoor Championship
in Gainesville, Fla., last winter. Can this new group get the achievement
done again? Only time will tell.
The Razorback Invitational: Arkansas opens its indoor season with
the Razorback Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center on Friday,
Jan. 16. For the past several years, the Arkansas opener was named the
SEC Quad and featured only teams from Southeastern Conference schools
in a scored meet. The elimination of SEC quads as mandated by the conference
office has allowed Arkansas to open its doors to other schools as well.
No Scoring: In a departure from what it has done in season openers
the past couple of years, the Razorback Invitational is a non-scored affair.
Competitors will compete for NCAA qualifying marks, but not for a team
Whom to Expect: Scheduled to make the trip to Fayetteville for
the Razorback Invitational are SEC rivals LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi
State as well as regional opponents Missouri Southern and Southwest Missouri
New Year, New Faces, New Team: While a good portion of the Lady
Razorbacks return from last season's SEC Championship squad, there are
quite a few new faces to watch for that could make serious impacts. Look
for the likes of Barton County transfers Veronica Campbell, Kasia Williams
and LaShaunte'a Moore to heat up the sprints while Shannon Spaulding should
strengthen the Lady'Backs' middle distance lineup. Erin Anderson enters
the fold as a top notch pole vaulter making Arkansas' team just as potent
if not more so than last season's SEC Champion and NCAA 10th-place team.
The Old Guard: Scary to say that sophomores and juniors are the
old guard, but that is what Arkansas faces during its indoor season. Only
five seniors dot the Lady Razorback indoor lineup led by NCAA hurdles
qualifier Shaneatra Neely and all-Americans Jennifer Lincoln and Jamie
A Meet and Training Exercise: While the Lady Razorbacks are ready
to run with the elite in the country, the Arkansas coaches have decided
to ease their squad into the indoor season. Because of that, many athletes
will be running "off" events in an effort to continue their training regimens.
Look for the Lady Razorbacks to really open the doors on the season at
the Razorback Invitational next week.
Arkansas Invite Schedule: The schedule for the Arkansas Invitational
is relatively compact for Arkansas indoor track meet standards beginning
at noon with the men's weight throw and ending around 9 p.m. with the
men's 4x400-meter relay. The Lady Razorbacks' first event begins at 1:00
p.m. with the high jump. Running events start at 3:00 p.m. with finals
beginning at 5:10 p.m.
The Trackwire Poll: The first poll has been released and the Lady
Razorbacks open the preseason ranked sixth in the nation according to
Trackwire.com. The Lady Razorbacks sit behind SEC foes LSU and Florida
as well as Texas, Stanford and UCLA. The LSU Tigers hold a commanding
lead in the poll, but as is the case most years with the top team, they
should come back to the pack as the season wears on.
||6th, 29 pts.
Best Ranking Since. . : The Lady Razorback's sixth-place position
in the Trackwire poll is their best start since the 2000 season when they
moved all the way up to number one for a time. That season, the Lady Razorbacks
finished third in the country at the NCAA Championships.
Don't Get Confused: One might look at the Arkansas roster and notice
that the Lady'Backs have a new/old pole vaulter in senior Jennifer Lincoln.
She is actually an old pole vaulter with a new name. Jennifer Culp was
married to former Razorback national steeplechase champion Daniel Lincoln
last summer and has changed her name to Jennifer Lincoln.
Looking Ahead: The University of Arkansas hosts four indoor track
meets this winter beginning with this Friday's Arkansas Invitational.
Next weekend brings the Razorback Invitational to Fayetteville followed
by the Tyson Foods Invite/Golden Spike Tour event on Feb. 13-14. Arkansas'
home indoor schedule concludes with the NCAA Championships, Mar. 12-13.
Returning all-Americans: The Lady Razorbacks return five all-Americans
to their indoor roster with another two getting added outdoors. Arkansas'
indoor all-Americans include Dawnyell Fletcher (two times), Jennifer Lincoln
(one time), Stacie Manuel (one time), Erica Sigmont (four times) and Jamie
Walker (one time). Joining the Lady'Backs between seasons are Londa Bevins
(five times) and Jessica Johnson (two times).
Where to Look for the Lady'Backs: Most of the Lady Razorback roster
will get their feet wet at the Arkansas Invitational. Focusing on quality
and not quantity, only a handful of Arkansas athletes will attempt to
double in an event. Arkansas' busiest competitors will be Jamie Walker
(800, 60 hurdles, shot put), Shaneatra Neely (60, 60 hurdles, 4x4) and
Kasia Williams (60, 60 hurdles, 4x4). LaShaunte'a Moore is scheduled to
compete in three events (60, 200, 4x4), but may run in just one individual
Heavy Events: The 3,000 meter runs are the events that the Lady'Backs
will load. As many as five Lady'Backs could compete in the unseeded and
seeded sections of the event. Four Arkansas athletes are entered in the
pole vault and three are set in both the 60 and 60 hurdles.
Sigmont Ready to Take Over: Junior Erica Sigmont is Arkansas' returning
leader in all-America honors earned, four, and must assume the role of
leader for the Lady Razorback distance crew. The most veteran competitor
when it comes to post season action, Sigmont has been able to learn from
some of Arkansas' best ever in Londa Bevins and Christin Wurth. A middle
distance specialist, Sigmont should make the most waves running the mile
during the indoor season.
New Look Lady'Backs: The Lady Razorbacks have always been known
as a distance powerhouse and over the past several years have received
the reputation as being an excellent pole vaulting school, but all that
could change in 2004 if Arkansas' sprinters run the way they are expected.
The University of Arkansas could graduate into the realm of a rounded
program if the likes of Veronica Campbell, LaShaunte'a Moore, Kasia Williams,
Shaneatra Neely, Kerri-Ann Mitchell and company perform to their peaks.
Lady Razorback Press Guides: The 2004 University of Arkansas Lady
Razorback Track & Field Media Guide is currently in production and should
be available to the media by Feb. 1. We are currently waiting on photos
that need to be taken at the Arkansas Invitational to finish the book.
Upcoming Press Conferences: Members of the media can expect to
hear about a press conference next week for the Razorback Invitational,
but in the meantime we ask that you mark down Monday, Feb. 2, at 11:30
a.m. for a press conference concerning the Tyson Foods Invitational. Other
press conferences include the week of the Tyson Invite, the week of the
SEC Championships and Thursday, March 11 for the NCAA Track and Field