Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Arkansas women win NCAA indoor championship
Arkansas Britton Wilson runs on her way to winning the 400-meter dash at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday, March 11, 2023. (Roberto E. Rosales/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)
Three months before his scheduled retirement, Arkansas women’s track and field coach Lance Harter added another NCAA title to his resume Saturday.
The Razorbacks scored 64 points to win the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Albuquerque (N.M.) Convention Center. Texas was second with 60 points.
It was Harter’s seventh national title in the three sports he coaches — all since 2015 — and his fourth title indoors. Arkansas also won indoor titles in 2015, 2019 and 2021.
"In track and field we always compete as an individual, but when you add a team, the momentum just escalates dramatically," Harter told the ESPN broadcast. "I think this is the result of that where each and every one of our athletes rose to a level that no one expected except themselves."
Leading by two points entering the final event, Arkansas’ team of Amber Anning, Joanne Reid, Rosey Effiong and Britton Wilson won the mile relay with a world-best time of 3:21.76. Wilson ran the anchor leg in 49.20.
Three Razorbacks — Amanda Fassold in the pole vault, Wilson in the 400 meters and Ackera Nugent in the 60 hurdles — won individual championships to add 30 points to the team score.
Arkansas also had second-place finishes by Lauren Gregory in the mile and by the distance medley relay team of Mary Ellen Eudaly, Paris Peoples, Lainey Quandt and Gregory.
Wilson won the 400 in an American-record time of 49.48 and became the first collegiate runner to finish in under 50 seconds. The Razorbacks scored 18 points in the 400 as Effiong finished fourth in 50.54 and Anning was sixth in 51.22.
Harter said there was thought someone might run the event in under 50 seconds when earlier preliminary heats were resulting in quick times.
"We knew Britton would rise to the challenge, no doubt about it," Harter said.
Nugent won the final of the 60 hurdles in 7.73 seconds. She ran a collegiate-record time of 7.72 during Friday’s prelims.
"Ackera Nugent in the hurdles just said, 'I'm not going to be denied, we're not going to be denied,'" Harter said. "Everybody just rallied around that momentum."
The DMR team finished in 10:56.61, just behind event champion Stanford in 10:56.34.
Fassold won the pole vault by clearing 14 feet, 7 1/4 inches.
"It's unique because they rallied around the unity between each and every facet of our team," Harter said. "They just were not going to let each other down. I think everybody just kept rising to a new level.
"We're super excited and a lot of these young people get to return next year and make the new head coach, Chris Johnson, hopefully his job a little bit easier."
Harter will coach the Razorbacks through the outdoor season. Johnson, the long-time Arkansas sprints coach, will succeed him as head coach in July.
CORRECTION: One member of the mile relay team was misidentified and the names of the team members have been corrected.
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