UA women missing plenty of firepower

By: Bob Holt
Published: Friday, May 11, 2018
Arkansas' Payton Stumbaugh (center) leads Valerie Thames of Missouri (left) and Alex Gochenour Saturday, April 22, 2017, in the 100-meter hurdles during the John McDonnell Invitational at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas' Payton Stumbaugh (center) leads Valerie Thames of Missouri (left) and Alex Gochenour Saturday, April 22, 2017, in the 100-meter hurdles during the John McDonnell Invitational at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The Arkansas Razorbacks' women's track and field team will be without four All-Americans at the SEC Outdoor Championships, which begin today in Knoxville, Tenn.

Payton Chadwick (heptathlon, hurdles), Desiree Freier (pole vault), Taylor Werner (distances) and Kelsey Herman (heptathlon) are redshirting. Those four combined to score 31 points at last year's SEC outdoors.

In addition, Arkansas seniors Taliyah Brooks (last year's heptathlon champion) and Nikki Hiltz (who won the 1,500 meters and was fourth in the 800) are dealing with injuries.

Brooks suffered a bruised heel two weeks ago and won't compete in the heptathlon or the long jump, where she's the NCAA leader. She'll run the 100 hurdles and on the 400 relay. Hiltz will run for the first time this outdoor season after recovering from a knee injury.

The roster issues have University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Coach Lance Harter skeptical about whether his No. 4 Razorbacks can win a 13th consecutive SEC title in cross country and indoor and outdoor track against a field that includes No. 1 LSU, No. 5 Kentucky and No. 6 Georgia.

"Sometimes you use up all your good luck and reality catches up to you," Harter said. "Maybe it's No. 13 working against us.

"If things fall our way extraordinarily, then we have a chance. But realistically, I think it's a situation where if someone gets on a roll, we're going to have a hard time trying to stop them."

Arkansas will be led Lexi Jacobus and Tori Hoggard -- twin sisters from Cabot -- in the pole vault; Devin Clark in the steeplechase and 5,000; and Jada Baylark in the 100, 200 and 400 relay.

Sports on 05/11/2018

Discussion

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