NCAA WEST PRELIMS:

Avoiding stumbles on UA's agenda

By: Bob Holt
Published: Thursday, May 23, 2019
Arkansas pole vaulter Lexi Jacobus competes during the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Friday, May 10, 2019, at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.
Photo by Charlie Kaijo
Arkansas pole vaulter Lexi Jacobus competes during the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Friday, May 10, 2019, at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.

A full charter flight full of the University of Arkansas track and field teams flew to Sacramento, Calif., where the NCAA West Prelims are being held from today through Saturday at Sacramento State's Hornet Stadium.

The Razorbacks' No. 1-ranked women's team, which won the SEC championship, will have 26 athletes competing in 11 events with 34 chances to advance.

The men's team, which fell out of the national rankings after finishing third at the SEC meet, has 20 athletes competing in 14 events with 26 chances to advance.

The top 12 individuals in each event and top eight relays in the East -- being held in Jacksonville, Fla. -- will advance to the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas, on June 5-8.

For elite programs such as Arkansas, the West Prelims represents more opportunities for missteps for athletes who already have marks among the top 24 nationally.

"It's a necessary evil, but the rules we have to follow," said Lance Harter, the Razorbacks' women's coach. "You could be the NCAA leader -- you could be the world-record holder -- and if you get to regionals and have an off day, you might not advance to the NCAA Championships.

"It's just another opportunity to potentially stumble, but we've been very fortunate in the past to traditionally get everybody through that we hope for. Hopefully, that won't change this year."

Arkansas will be led by sprinters Payton Chadwick (110 hurdles, 200, and 400 and 1,600 relays) and Janeek Brown (110 hurdles, 200, and 400 relay); pole vaulters and twin sisters Lexi Jacobus and Tori Hoggard; and distance runner Taylor Werner (5,000 and 10,000).

The men's team will be led by distance runners Gilbert Boit (5,000 and 10,000) and Cameron Griffith (1,500 and 5,000).

Sports on 05/23/2019

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