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Fact Sheet #12 - The Penn Relays
The Penn Relays: The Lady Razorbacks are once again traveling to the prestigious Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pa., this weekend to take on the best that the nation has to offer in what is the 110th running of this historic event. Arkansas looks to claim its third Penn Wagon Wheel for its trophy cases, but has stiff competition all around in its pursuit.

Last Season at Penn: The Lady Razorbacks brought a fairly large contingent to the Penn Relays and despite seeking a Wagon Wheel came away with much more. Jessica Johnson and April Steiner each cleared UA records in the high jump and pole vault, respectively, while Steiner became just the third Lady Razorback to take an individual title when she won the vault competition. Then junior Shaneatra Neely was also very good, making the finals in the 100 hurdles as the Lady'Backs enjoyed a very successful competition.

Penn Champions: The Lady Razorbacks have won two Penn Relays Championship of America Wagon Wheels to go along with a three individual titles. Arkansas' first ever champion was 15-time all-American Amy Yoder Begley in the 10,000 meter run in 2000 followed shortly thereafter by the first wagon wheel in the distance medley relay that same year. Lilli Kleinmann won Arkansas' second individual title in the steeplechase followed by the 4x1500-meter championship of America in 2001. April Steiner is Arkansas' latest champion with the pole vault title in 2003.

The Wagon Wheels: The Lady Razorbacks seek their third Penn Relays wagon wheel this weekend to go with the two which have made their way back to Fayetteville. The team of Jessica Dailey, Gi-Gi Miller, Tawa Babatunde and Tracy Robertson won the Lady'Backs first wheel in the distance medley relay in 2000 followed in 2001 by the squad of Andreina Byrd, Lilli Kleinmann, Christin Wurth and Tracy Robertson in the 4x1,500.

Once Again Looking at Relays: The Lady Razorbacks have numerous athletes entered into individual events at the Penn Relays this spring, but it's the relays that are once again the focus. Arkansas is entered in five Championship of America relay events, the 4x100, 4x800, 4x1,500, distance medley and shuttle hurdle relays.

Last Weekend: The Lady Razorbacks enjoyed perhaps their best weekend of the year just days ago as they qualified 13 athletes for post season competition at a myriad of events across the country. Brandy Blackwood headlined the Kansas Relays while Veronica Campbell shined at the Michael Johnson Classic. In California at the Mt. SAC Relays it was Londa Bevins and Erica Sigmont who were the bright spots with outstanding 1,500-meter runs.

The Schedule: The Penn Relays schedule is always confusing with the number of athletes, both high school and collegiate that roll through Franklin Field. For the Lady Razorbacks though, it isn't as bad. Most of Arkansas' competition takes place on Thursday, April 22, followed by just a few events on Friday and even less on Saturday. In fact, the Lady Razorbacks have to qualify for some of Friday and Saturday's events so the schedule could be even less.

Splitting Events: The Penn Relays have an unbelievable amount of athletes that compete and because of that athletes are split into different sections like a championships and a collegiate. If Arkansas athletes don't appear in what one thought was the 5,000-meter run, it could be that the athlete is scheduled to compete in the Olympic Development or event the Championship section.

The Trackwire Ranking: The Lady Razorbacks began the 2004 outdoor season where they ended the indoor campaign in the polls, 12th. Two weeks later, Arkansas has already improved to ninth with 25 points thanks to Stacie Manuel's solid vaulting at the John McDonnell and the 4x4 relay. The Lady Razorbacks are just four points from eighth and are one of six SEC teams in the top 10.

Arkansas Rankings
Week Trackwire Trackshark USTCA
W1, 4/6 12th, 22 pts. - 25th, 196.66 pts.
W2, 4/13 10th, 25 pts. 10th 34th, 216.63 pts.
W3, 4/20 9th, 25 pts. - 46th, 253.49 pts.

Trackshark: Arkansas finished the 2004 indoor season ranked 11th in the Trackshark rankings, just off their indoor nationals finish of 10th. Like the Trackwire rankings, Arkansas is 10th in the first week of the Trackshark poll. Trackshark ranks teams based on other polls, rankings and scored competitions.

The USTCA Power Rankings: The United States Track Coaches Association also has a rankings system, but its is based solely on performances. The USTCA tracks the top two competitors in every event and assigns a numeric value to that performance. The sum of the performances ranks the team. The Lady Razorbacks opened the outdoor season at 25th, dropping to 46th in week three, but that is still without several sprint and relay performances which should be factored in shortly.

Welcome Back Londa Bevins: It took some time to get back into competition form, but Londa Bevins' performance at the Mt. SAC Relays should only be the first step to returning to all-America form for the Wylie, Texas, native. Bevins clocked 4:19.44 in the 1,500-meter run to claim the ninth fastest time in the country in the event.

A Five-Time All-American: Only nine women in Lady Razorback history have earned at least five all-America honors during their careers, with Londa Bevins being among that elite company. Should Bevins take another honor this season she would place herself in the elite company of seven other Lady Razorbacks who have earned more than five.

Individual Competitors: Not every Lady Razorback will get a chance to compete in front of the usually large Franklin Field crowd as an individual this weekend. In fact, only 17 of the 21 athletes that are traveling will get to do so. Of the 21 though, 14 of those will compete on at least one relay with the remaining seven being field event personnel.

Second Woman: Sophomore Stacie Manuel became the second woman in Lady Razorback history to clear the 14-foot mark in the pole vault at the John McDonnell Invitational. Her performance is a personal best for the Willmar, Minn., native and puts her in elite company as only a handful of collegiates have ever accomplished the feat.

Arkansas' Record: Stacie Manuel's pole vault of 14 feet matched Arkansas' all-time record in the event, but unfortunately because of the weather, won't count as Arkansas' all-time mark. Despite it being an outdoor meet, Manuel and the rest of the field were forced to jump indoors because of safety concerns so her mark will not count as Arkansas' record.

One of the Nation's Best: Despite missing the entire indoor season, Stacie Manuel has returned to action outdoors as one of the nation's best vaulters. Already ranked among the nation's elite by Trackwire, should Manuel clear 14 feet again, this time outdoors, she would be only one of three collegiate vaulters to accomplish the task in 2004.

Trackwire Dandy Dozen: The Trackwire Dandy Dozen is the basis for the Trackwire Poll and four Lady Razorback individuals or teams are ranked in the top 12. In the 100 and 200-meter dashes, Veronica Campbell is ranked number one, while the 4x400-meter relay sits at number seven. Stacie Manuel is currently sixth on the pole vault list.

Sigmont Makes Strides: Junior Erica Sigmont struggled with illness most of the indoor track season and is just now showing the signs of what made her a three-time all-American in 2003. The Australia native ran 4:20.37 for 1,500 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays, just off her personal best of 4:19.46 to notch the 14th fastest mark in the nation this season.

SEC Female Runner of the Year: For her efforts indoors, Veronica Campbell was recently named the SEC Female Runner of the Year. She is the third Lady Razorback to take and athlete of the year honor indoors and earned only Arkansas' fourth track athlete of the year award.

SEC Athlete of the Week: Veronica Campbell was named the SEC Female Runner of the Week on April 21 after breaking the UA school record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.19, one tenth of a second faster than the old record. The award is Campbell's second athlete of the week honor.

Fastest in the Conference: Veronica Campbell's 11.19 in the 100-meter dash is the fastest time in the Southeastern Conference this season, ahead of Muna Lee's 11.31.

Fastest in the World: Junior Veronica Campbell ended the 2004 indoor track season holding the fastest time in the world for 200 meters at 22.43. The Jamaica native scorched the Randal Tyson Track Center surface on way to her first NCAA title.

Collegiate Record Holder: Veronica Campbell's NCAA Championship and subsequent time of 22.43 set the collegiate indoor record in the event. She edged Muna Lee's (LSU) time of 22.49 which had been set at the NCAA Championships in 2003.

Unbeaten: Veronica Campbell seems to like the 200 meters more than the 60 and looking at the results, one can tell. Campbell went unbeaten in preliminary or finals action at the distance running the race six times this indoor season and blowing away the competition in each race.

SEC Champion: She didn't break her season best, but Veronica Campbell's 200-meter time of 22.67 at the SEC Championships was good enough to win in convincing fashion. She breezed past a world class field that included defending national champion and former collegiate record holder Muna Lee of LSU.

SEC Record Holder: Veronica Campbell's 200-meter time at the SEC Championships of 22.67 was astonishing to watch, but it also destroyed the SEC Championship record for the event by two-tenths of a second. The record had been held by LSU's Dawn Sowell (22.87) which she set in 1989.

USTCA Regional Athlete of the Year: Veronica Campbell's performances were so awe-inspiring during the indoor season that she was named the United States Track Coaches Association's South Central Region Track Athlete of the Year.

Silver Medalist: We mention it in the media guide, but it is worth mentioning again. Veronica Campbell is also an Olympic silver medalist in the 4x100-meter relay for her native Jamaica from the Sydney Olympic Games.

Qualifiers: The Lady Razorbacks had a slow indoor season, but the athletes are coming to play during the outdoor season. Arkansas currently has 22 times or marks qualified for post season competition with 20 good for the regional championships and two on the provisional list for the NCAA meet.

Scott Steps Up: Sophomore Maureen Scott ran very well for the Lady Razorbacks as a freshman and was good during the beginning part of her sophomore year, but the Mahomet, Ill., native is taking off as the outdoor season begins. Already eclipsing her personal bests in both the 5,000 and steeplechase by a combined 38 seconds, Scott picked up a huge victory at the Texas Relays in the steeplechase.

Steeplechase Champion: Maureen Scott became Arkansas' second ever steeplechase champion at the Texas Relays when she took the 2004 title on April 1. Following in the footsteps of former Lady Razorback Lilli Kleinmann, Scott was at the lead from wire to wire as she ran stride-for-stride with Amber Ferner of Purdue.

Conference Leader: Maureen Scott's times in the steeplechase (10:24.00) and 5,000-meter run (16:26.64) are not just 2004 Lady Razorback bests, but the top times in the Southeastern Conference. Her 5,000 mark is two seconds ahead of Vanderbilt's Erika Schneble and the steeplechase time is 14 in front of teammate Laura Jakosky.

Placing Well in the Conference: The Lady Razorbacks, on paper, appear to be a much stronger team during the outdoor season than they were indoors. Despite not running their full compliment of athletes, Arkansas is still scattered throughout the Southeastern Conference performers list which tracks the top 10 marks in the SEC. The Lady Razorbacks have a presence in 12 of the 21 SEC and NCAA Championship events and are the conference leaders in three of the 12.

Johnson's Return: After sitting out the indoor season, Jessica Johnson returned for her final season of collegiate eligibility and opened at the Texas Relays. Jumping a modest, 5-8, Arkansas' coaches were happy with the performance since it was her first in almost nine months.

Williams Getting Better: Junior hurdler Kasia Williams entered the 2004 season with a career best of 13.63 in the 100 hurdles, but after a fabulous indoor season that saw her compete at the NCAA Championships, Williams came out of the blocks like gangbusters at the Stanford Invitational and ran a career best of 13.20 during finals to take the invite championship.

Building On Success: Perhaps she is coming of age, perhaps it's coaching, who knows what the trigger mechanism has been for junior Kasia Williams, but Arkansas' coaches are hoping that her trend of spiraling her best marks down continues. Williams improved nearly every week during the indoor season and capped off the year with a trip to the NCAA Championships after nearly breaking Arkansas' school record for 55-hurdles.

Texas Relays Finalist: Kasia Williams was once again on top of her game at the Texas Relays by making the finals of what could shape up to be a precursor to the NCAA Championships final. Led by Texas' Nicole Denby and LSU's Lolo Jones, Williams was with the leaders finishing fourth overall. While not her season best time, William's 13.27 at the race proved that her 13.20 at Stanford was no fluke.

Bad Weather, No Problem: To further emphasize Williams' newfound ability to run with the best, one only needs to look as far as the John McDonnell Invitational. In 40-degree weather, Williams still rolled to 13.42 during prelims to post the second fastest time going into the finals.

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