UA women toast field for third triple crown in row

By: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Published: Sunday, May 14, 2017
Arkansas women's track and field coach Lance Harter watches Saturday, April 23, 2016, during the John McDonnell Invitational at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas women's track and field coach Lance Harter watches Saturday, April 23, 2016, during the John McDonnell Invitational at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.

Lance Harter, coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks' women's cross country and track and field teams, has become used to having water tossed on him after SEC meets.

It's what happens when you keep winning them.

Harter said he's been able to avoid getting soaked after the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville won some titles when his athletes attempted to douse him with water, but Saturday wasn't one of those times.

Juniors Taliyah Brooks and Payton Stumbaugh were able to sneak up on Harter and dump water on him after Arkansas won its latest title at the SEC Outdoor Championships in Columbia, S.C.

"I've become fairly wary, but Taliyah and Payton got me," Harter said. "They're a lot quicker than I am, and I've got a little bit of an Achilles injury.

"So I wasn't as fleet afoot as I have been in the past."

Nobody came close to catching Harter's team.

Arkansas won its seventh SEC outdoor title with 128 points. LSU was second with 100 points.

The Razorbacks won their 10th consecutive SEC championship in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field, including three triple crowns by sweeping all three titles in the same school year.

The last time Arkansas didn't win an SEC title was at the 2014 indoor meet.

Harter praised his assistant coaches, Bryan Compton (field events) and Chris Johnson (sprinters and hurdlers), for helping the Razorbacks extend their SEC title steak.

"It's real credit to Bryan and Chris complementing what I do," said Harter, who coaches the distance runners. "Between the three of us, we're able to collectively keep the Razorbacks going.

"This run we're on is really impressive, because this conference is so good."

Arkansas was led Saturday by senior Daina Harper and junior Nikki Hiltz.

Harper won the 400 (52.16 seconds) and ran legs on the 1,600 and 400 relays to help the Razorbacks take sixth and seventh in those races.

"Daina had a very full day," Harter said.

Harper swept the SEC 400 titles this year after previously winning the indoors event.

Hiltz won the 1,500 (4:12.94) and an hour later took fourth in the 800 (2:05.08).

Arkansas scored 18 points in the 1,500 -- along with senior Therese Haiss taking third and freshman Carina Viljoen sixth -- for a commanding lead in the team race.

"We had entered Nikki in both the 1,500 and 800 because we thought the team race might be close," Harter said. "But after the 1,500, I told her she didn't need to run the 800. She said, 'That's OK. I'll just run it as a workout.' She's a tough kid."

Stumbaugh showed her toughness, too. After taking second to Brooks in the heptathlon Friday, Stumbaugh finished fifth in 100 hurdles (13.30) and ran on the 400 relay Saturday.

Arkansas scored 29 points in the heptathlon taking the top four spots -- with senior Leigha Brown and sophomore Kelsey Herman third and fourth behind Brooks and Stumbaugh -- and 24 in the poll vault with sophomores Lexi Weeks and Tori Weeks and Desiree Freier first, second and third.

"We just had a fantastic meet," Harter said. "We only have four seniors, so the future is very exciting."

Except for the rest of the SEC.

Sports on 05/14/2017

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