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Fact 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 score.

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 State.

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 Walker.

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 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.

Arkansas Rankings
week Trackwire Trackshark
W1, 1/13 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 event.

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 Championships.

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