UA women cherish celebration at home

By: Bob Holt
Published: Monday, February 25, 2019
Members of the Arkansas women's indoor track and field team celebrates Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, after winning the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Members of the Arkansas women's indoor track and field team celebrates Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, after winning the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas women's track and field team got to celebrate at home after winning the SEC Indoor Championship on Saturday at the Randal Tyson Track Center.

There was a trophy presentation by an SEC official, an interview between ESPN anchor John Anderson and Razorbacks Coach Lance Harter, plenty of photos and Hog calls, and championship shirts passed around.

"I'm just absolutely elated by what we just did," Harter said. "It's really great that we were able to do it at home and have our administration and our fans get a chance to see it."

What everyone at the meet saw was Arkansas literally lap the field in the team race. The Razorbacks won with 151 points while Texas A&M was second with 70.

For Harter, it stood out among the 35 SEC championships Arkansas has won on his watch in cross country, and indoor and outdoor track since the 1991-92 school year -- including 14 of 15 since the 2014 outdoor season.

"It was such a dominating performance," Harter said. "So this one is always going to be special."

Harter made sure to credit his assistant coaches -- Chris Johnson (sprints and hurdles) and Bryan Compton (field events).

"Chris and Bryan do such a great job," he said. "Yeah, I work with the distance runners, but there are a lot more events than just the distances.

"All I do is try to complement them. I don't think there's anyone better in the business."

The No. 1-ranked Razorbacks may be celebrating another championship in two weeks when they compete at the NCAA meet March 8-9 in Birmingham, Ala.

"I think everyone will be gunning for us," said Arkansas senior Payton Chadwick, who won the 60-meter hurdles at the SEC meet, finished second in the 200 and ran on the fourth-place 1,600 relay. "We all just need to do our jobs, and hopefully we can get the national title."

Arkansas junior Taylor Werner, who won the 3,000 and 5,000 at the SEC meet, will run the 3,000 at the NCAA meet and possibly be on the distance medley relay.

"With SECs, you never know what's going to happen," Werner said. "There are very talented girls out there, but we showed what we're capable of doing.

"I can't wait to go to nationals with this fire under us."

Along with Chadwick and Werner, Arkansas' other potential national champions or high scorers include seniors and twin sisters Lexi Jacobus and Tori Hoggard in the pole vault; senior Kelsey Herman in the pentathlon; and redshirt freshman Lauren Gregory in the mile.

"Everyone is healthy -- knock on wood -- and we're going to the national meet with a great arsenal," Harter said. "I think there's a lot of enthusiasm with our group to win that title."

Harter, who led Arkansas to the 2015 NCAA indoor title and 2016 NCAA outdoor title, said he views Southern California as the Razorbacks' main competition in Birmingham.

"I have great respect for USC," Harter said. "They're the defending outdoor national champions, and they recruit like 'Who's Who' in America, and abroad, and they're well coached. I know they'll come in ready to go."

Sports on 02/25/2019

Discussion

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