Razorbacks ranked seventh in preseason poll
Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Walt Beazley)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - In the preseason poll released Tuesday afternoon by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), the University of Arkansas women's track and field team received a No. 7 ranking. The Razorbacks begin their season Friday with a dual meet against Oklahoma State.
"We ended last (indoor) season as the No. 5 team in the nation," head coach Lance Harter said. "We've got some young additions that will help fill the shoes of those who have graduated. We feel like we have some national-caliber scorers like Regina George and across the board, we have people that will threaten those spots at the national championships."
Based on last year's achievements, the Razorbacks' 2013 roster features eight All-Americans that combined for 18 All-America accolades last season, along with SEC championships Makeba Alcide (pentathlon) and Regina George (400 meters) and last year's SEC Outdoor Freshman Runner of the Year Dominique Scott.
With back-to-back top-five national finishes at the NCAA Indoor Championships, Arkansas now has five top-five finishes and nine top-10 showings in the program's history. The Razorbacks finished in fifth place last season and placed fourth in 2011.
"The distance crew had a very good cross country season and is very youthful with just one senior," Harter said. "Semehar (Tesfaye) is a runner who has advanced to the NCAAs and has that experience. She leads the charge as far as experience goes but we also have Grace Heymsfield who probably had the most successful cross country season and is really ready to make a debut at the indoor nationals.
"(In the multi-events), Makeba Alcide is a returning All-American and in better shape than she's ever been. She's had a fantastic fall and when she puts it all together, she is definitely a national scorer. In the pole vault, we lost Tina Sutej but we have a new young lady named Sandi Morris that has jumped 14 feet and advanced to the national meet. I think she will lead the charge with our pole vault."
Harter returns for his 23rd season as the head coach of the Arkansas women's cross country and track and field program. Chris Johnson begins his first season as the associate head coach after spending the previous eight years at Penn State. Johnson was a graduate assistant on Harter's staff in 2003 and 2004. Assistant coach Bryan Compton enters his 15th season at Arkansas.
The season-opening event starts at 4 p.m. (CT) at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. General admission tickets for home meets are $5, while fans 17 years and younger are admitted for free and University of Arkansas students get in free with valid student ID.
Friday's competition is the first of 11 home meets-six indoor and five outdoor-for the Razorbacks this season. Arkansas' hosting duties will include the 2013 NCAA and SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships. The indoor national meet will be contested March 8-9, while the conference meet will take place Feb. 22-24.
USTFCCCA Preseason Top 10
1. Clemson (ACC) - 150.90 points
2. Kansas (Big 12) - 147.20
3. Oregon (Pac-12) - 146.75
4. LSU (SEC) - 124.98
5. Florida (SEC) - 114.99
6. Texas A&M (SEC) - 112.36
7. ARKANSAS (SEC) - 112.17
8. Iowa State (Big 12) - 76.31
9. California (Pac-12) - 70.74
10. Washington (Pac-12) - 69.48