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
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
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
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.
||12th, 22 pts.
||25th, 196.66 pts.
||10th, 25 pts.
||34th, 216.63 pts.
||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
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
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
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
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.