Razorback Women’s Track 2013 Preview

Courtesy University of Arkansas Department of Athletics

FAYETTEVILLE – The 2012-13 season for the University of Arkansas women’s cross country and track and field program picks back up Jan. 11 with the start of the indoor campaign. Head coach Lance Harter is in his 23rd season with the Razorbacks. He leads a staff that includes associate head coach Chris Johnson in his first season at Arkansas and assistant coach Bryan Compton in his 15th season in Fayetteville.

Based on last year’s achievements, the Razorbacks return eight All-America performers and two Olympians for the 2013 indoor and outdoor seasons. Arkansas will be looking to build on a pair of third-place SEC finishes and a fifth-place showing at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

The team’s list of returning All-Americans includes Makeba Alcide, Martine Borge, Stephanie Brown, Gwendolyn Flowers, Regina George, Tiffany Hines, Ivanique Kemp and Chrishuna Williams. Alcide is the defending SEC champion in the pentathlon while George won the program’s first-ever outdoor conference title at 400 meters last season. The Razorbacks will also benefit from the Olympic experiences of George and Kemp who represented Nigeria and Bahamas, respectively, last summer in London.

Arkansas brings back three members—Flowers, George and Williams—of its 4×400-meter relay that finished fourth at the indoor and outdoor national meets. Hines was an NCAA qualifier at 200 meters and joined Flowers and George on the 4×100-meter relay team.  The sprint and hurdle crew will also feature Kemp, the school-record holder in the 60-meter hurdles.

Borge and Brown bring their All-America status to the Razorbacks’ middle-distance crew. Both runners enter their senior seasons having concentrated at 800 meters for a majority of their careers. Borge anchored the Razorbacks to a Drake Relays record in the sprint-medley relay last season, while Brown owns the No. 2 mark at 800 meters in program history.

The team’s depth at distance events will include Grace Heymsfield in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Dominique Scott at the longer distances. Heymsfield was the SEC runner-up at last year’s SEC meet while Scott was named the SEC Freshman Runner of the Year following a runner-up finish at 10,000 meters and third-place result at 5,000 meters during the conference meet.

In addition to her prowess in the multi-event competitions, Alcide joined Kirsten Hesseltine as an NCAA West Preliminary qualifier in the high jump. The list of returning field qualifiers for the NCAA West Preliminary also features Tamara Myers in the long jump and Danielle Nowell in the pole vault

Arkansas’ group of newcomers for the 2013 track and field season includes Logan Biship (distance), Amethyst Boyd (javelin), Gabriel Cook (pole vault), Codi Fritchie (distance), Alex Gochenour (multi events), Spark McKnight (sprints/hurdles), Samantha Mohler (distance), Sandi Morris (pole vault), Amy O’Donoghue (middle distance), Samantha Osterholm (distance), Megan Paul (sprints), Valerie Reina (distance), Andrina Schlaepfer (middle distance), Aidan Shea (distance), Katarina Smith (sprints), Semehar Tesfaye (distance) and Hannah Wrigley (middle distance).

During the cross country season during the fall semester, Tesfaye was an all-region performer while Schlaepfer was an All-SEC performer and a three-time recipient of SEC Freshman of the Week honors. Tesfaye earned SEC Runner of the Week accolades following an individual title at the adidas/UCI Invitational.

Along with 11 home meets, Arkansas will play host to the SEC and NCAA Indoor Championships. The Razorbacks’ schedule will also feature four scored meets, all contested in Fayetteville. As always, Arkansas’ home indoor meets will be held at the Randal Tyson Track Center while the home outdoor meets will be played out at John McDonnell Field

Arkansas and the Randal Tyson Track Center will host the SEC Indoor Championships for the seventh time, previously hosing the meet in 2000, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2011. The indoor conference meet will be held Feb. 22-24 at the Razorbacks’ home facility. Two weeks later, the Razorbacks will increase their national hosting duties to 11 with the NCAA Indoor Championships. The nation’s best will compete March 8-9. Arkansas most recently hosted the national indoor meet during the 2010 season.

The outdoor postseason begins May 9-12 with the SEC Championships in Columbia, Mo., hosted by conference newcomer Missouri. With spots in the national meet on the line, the Razorbacks will then compete May 23-25 at the NCAA West Preliminary in Austin, Texas. The 2013 collegiate season will conclude June 5-8 with a trip to Eugene, Ore., for the NCAA Championships.

In addition to the conference and national meets, Arkansas will compete in head-to-head, scored competitions with the season-opening dual meet with Oklahoma State (Jan. 11), Razorback Team Invitational (Jan. 25-26), John McDonnell Invitational (April 12-13) and Arkansas Invitational (April 27). Among other possible entries, the Arkansas Invitational is scheduled to include Florida and Central Florida.

Following the collegiate campaign, the track and field season continues June 19-23 with the USA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. The world’s best will then compete July 22-27 at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene and Aug. 10-18 at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.