NCAA INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS:

UA women looking to score big time in couple of events

By: Bob Holt
Published: Friday, March 10, 2017
Arkansas sophomore Lexi Weeks competes in the pole vault Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, during the Tyson Invitational in the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas sophomore Lexi Weeks competes in the pole vault Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, during the Tyson Invitational in the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.

The Arkansas Razorbacks women's team figures to pile up the points in the pole vault and pentathlon this weekend at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas.

The Razorbacks have three of the top six qualifiers in each event, led by twin sisters Lexi and Tori Weeks in the pole vault.

The Weeks, sophomores from Cabot, rank 1-2 nationally with Lexi clearing 15 feet, 1 inch and Tori 15-0.

Lexi Weeks swept SEC and NCAA indoor and outdoor titles last year and competed in the Olympics for the United States, but Tori Weeks edged her sister for this year's SEC indoor title two weeks ago.

Both cleared 15-0, but Tori Weeks won because she made it on her first attempt while Lexi Weeks did it on her third.

"They've just been absolutely miraculous all season," Razorbacks Coach Lance Harter said. "We'd love to get 18 points from them."

So which twin does Harter expect to win?

"Between those two? It's hard enough just to tell them apart," Harter said. "So I've just got to cheer for both of them.

"As long as they're one and two, I'm going to cheer no matter what."

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville also could get points in the vault from sophomore Desiree Freier, who is ranked No. 6 with a best of 14-3 1/4.

In the pentathlon the Razorbacks have junior Taliyah Brooks (ranked No. 2 with 4,460 points), who finished second last year; senior Leigha Brown (No. 3 with 4,379); and sophomore Kelsey Herman (No. 5 with 4,278).

"There are no gimmes," Harter said. "But when you have three in the top five, you've got to rely heavily on their scoring potential."

Arkansas is ranked No. 3 in the national coaches' poll and one of four SEC teams in the top five behind No. 1 Oregon along with No. 2 Georgia, No. 4 LSU and No. 5 Kentucky.

Harter said it will be tough for any of the SEC teams to beat the Ducks.

"Oregon probably has the greatest assembly of women's talent on one team ever in the history of women's track and field on the NCAA level," Harter said. "Can they afford to make some mistakes? Yes. Can they make a lot of mistakes? No.

"I think there are others like ourselves and Georgia and LSU that definitely could give them a scare."

Arkansas senior Diana Harper ranks fourth nationally in the 400 meters (51.77) after winning the SEC title and also will run on the Razorbacks' 1,600 relay. Seniors Nikki Hiltz and Therese Haiss will run in the mile and on the Razorbacks' No. 5-ranked distance medley relay.

Freshman Taylor Werner, who won the 5,000 and took second in the 3,000 at the SEC meet, will run the 3,000 for the Razorbacks. She's ranked 11th based on time, but Harter said it won't be a surprise if Werner scores well.

"Taylor is very formidable as a head-on-head competitor versus racing for time," Harter said. "She's defied the odds all season."

Sports on 03/10/2017

Discussion

Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.