NCAA Women’s Track Advance

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE – Nobody would think the old Rodney Dangerfield line of “I get no respect” would apply to Lance Harter’s Razorbacks leading into the NCAA Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

But apparently it does.

For despite winning another SEC Cross Country-Indoor-Outdoor triple crown, winning last March’s NCAA Indoor in Fayetteville and winning the 2019 NCAA Outdoor, the last NCAA Outdoor competed since the covid-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 season, Arkansas is just the fifth-rated team with the NCAA Women’s Outdoor to be conducted Thursday and Saturday at the University of Oregon’s $300 million renovated Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Given the super star national points potential of favorite LSU, No. 3. Texas A&M and No. 4, Georgia all conference level outpointed indoors and outdoors by Arkansas in the SEC, and No. 2 Southern California of the Pac 12, Harter doesn’t disagree.

However he’s not conceding his Razorbacks national champion program of six NCAA Indoor, Outdoor and Cross Country championships can’t win total national championship No. 7 and Outdoor No. 3 national championship in Eugene.

“I think we’d have to have a very productive two days with no errors involved,” Harter said. “if we pull off an upset in one or two of the races unexpectedly then it probably gives us a shot of potentially of winning. I think there are seven teams that could score 40 points or more and we’re in that conversation.”

Events are scored 10 team points for the individual winner, eight for second, six for third, and then 5,4,3,2 and 1 from seventh through eighth.

How many will it take to win the team title?

“Probably 60 or low 60s,” Harter said. “Not as high as what it took for us (68 points) indoors. We have scoring opportunities all the way through the meet. It would be lovely for it to come down to the mile relay and USC and A&M would be very, very competitive as well.”

Arkansas lost a potential when national vault leader Nastassja Campbell couldn’t get untracked and failed to advance in the NCAA West Preliminary Qualifying meet in College Station, Texas.

All others expected to make it to Eugene qualified, Harter said.

“We gave away a bit in the pole vault with Stass not being able to make the final,” Harter said. “She’s the national leader. It’s pretty hard to give a person like that up although (Arkansas teammate) Lauren Martinez always was right on her heels.”

Martinez, and Razorbacks Mackenzie Hayward and NCAA Indoor All-American Bailee McCorkle of Greenwood all are pole vault qualified for Eugene. Long jumper G’Auna Edwards completes the field events contingent.

From the 800 through the 10,000 minus the steeplechase, Harter’s Hogs sport scoring potential from Shafiqua Maloney, 800; Krissy Gear, 1,500, Lauren Gregory, 5,000, and Katie Izzo, 10,000.

Sprints coach Chris Johnson brings a busy, versatile crew.

Tiana Wilson of Hamburg and Jada Baylark of Little Rock Parkview are both qualified in the open 100 and 200 meters and join 100-meter hurdle qualifiers Yoveinny Mota and Jayla Hollis on the 4 x 100 relays.

Daszay Freeman also is 100-meter hurdles qualified.

The 4 x 400 relay, the meet’s last event, features a Razorbacks quartet of Paris Peoples, Morgan Burks-Magee, Maloney, and the ubiquitous Tiana Wilson.

“It would be lovely for us for it to come down to the mile relay,” Harter said. “And USC and A&M would be very, very competitive as well.”

Off finishing 10th in NCAA Cross Country, run in Stillwater, Okla. just two days after Arkansas won the NCAA Indoor in Fayetteville, the Razorbacks are in contention with Brigham Young, seventh indoors and the NCAA Cross Country winner, for the Terry Crawford Award. Named for the retired Texas Women’s track and cross country coach, the Crawford Award honors the best women’s cross country-indoor-outdoor program based on the three NCAA championship meets.

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