No. 4 Arkansas To Defend SEC Championship Streak
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Following the end of a successful indoor regular season campaign, the No. 4 Arkansas women’s track and field team will compete at the 2016 SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 26-27 at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
Heading into the conference competition as the defending champions, Arkansas sets its sights on adding another SEC title to its growing collection. The Razorback women have won the last five SEC championships (cross country, indoor and outdoor) stemming back to the 2014 outdoor conference meet. Head coach Lance Harter has guided Arkansas to one national indoor title and five SEC indoor crowns.
400m: Taylor Ellis-Watson – PR 51.52 | 2016 Best 52.18
2015 SEC Outdoor 400-meter champion Taylor Ellis-Watson heads into her final conference meet with the second best time in the nation at 400 meters. The seven-time All-American finished third in the event at last year’s SEC Indoor Championships before earning a silver medal at the national level with her PR of 51.52. Ellis-Watson earned her 2016 best of 52.18 off a first-place finish at the Tyson Invitational. She is undefeated at 400 meters this season. In addition to leading the SEC in the 400, Ellis-Watson also has the third-best time in the conference at 200 meters with 23.03.
3,000m: Jessica Kamilos – PR 9:13.92 | 2016 Best 9:13.92
A steady contributor in the distance events for Arkansas through her entire career, this weekend looks to be no different for senior Jessica Kamilos. The Neosho, Mo. native was a part of both the 2015 SEC and NCAA DMR championship teams. As an individual, Kamilos scored points for the Razorbacks in the mile at the conference indoor meet and earned All-SEC honors with a win in the 3K steeplechase at the conference outdoor meet. In her final indoor season with the Razorbacks, Kamilos took the leading role at 3,000 meters and raced to a new PR of 9:13.92 at the Husky Classic. She leads her SEC competition by four seconds.
Pole Vault: Alexis Weeks – PR 4.60m/15-1 | 2016 Best 4.60m/15-1
American junior pole vault record holder Lexi Weeks is off to a blazing start in her first collegiate season. Weeks wasted no time getting acclimated to college competition by vaulting into the SEC and NCAA No. 1 spot with a clearance of 4.50m/14-9 during her Razorback debut at the Arkansas Invitational. She improved upon that mark at the Tyson Invitational soaring to 4.60m/15-1 and becoming only the fifth vaulter in NCAA history to clear 15 feet indoors. The height also gave Weeks the NCAA freshman record in the pole vault. The Cabot, Ark. native is the only freshman NCAA leader in a field event this season.
ALL EYES ON …
Taliyah Brooks, Leigha Brown, Alex Gochenour and Payton Stumbaugh are four of the best multi-event athletes in the nation. All four pentathletes rank inside the SEC top 10, led by Brooks who checks in at No. 2 with 4,457 points. Brooks, a specialist in different events this season, leads the crew in jumps, Brown at 800 meters, Gochenour in the shot put and Stumbaugh in the 60-meter hurdles.
Brooks and Stumbaugh also rank inside the SEC top five in the open 60-meter hurdles.
Oregon transfer Nikki Hiltz has made her presence felt this season as one of the best milers in the conference. A two-time All-American as a freshman, Hiltz heads into her first SEC championships with plenty of postseason experience under her belt. The Aptos, Calif. native looks to be a major contributor for the Razorbacks in the mile and as the 1,200 lead leg of their nationally-ranked distance medley relay.
Out of Tontitown, Ark., junior Valerie Reina holds the No. 2 spot in the conference at 5,000 meters. Reina has made major strides since her first year as a Razorback improving from a 17:44.56 in the 5K in 2014 to a 16:16.74 this year. 2015 saw Reina place inside the SEC top five in the 5K at the indoor and outdoor conference championships.
Ranked in the SEC in two distance events (3K and 5K), Regan Ward has made a positive impact for Arkansas this season. Primed to earn Arkansas in points in both races, Ward looks to fill the void left by former Razorback distance standouts Shannon Klenke and Diane Robison.
One of only two freshmen ranked in the NCAA top five in the pole vault, Tori Weeks heads into her first SEC championships as the second best vaulter in the conference. Weeks has a personal best clearance of 4.40m/14-5.25 which she vaulted at the Arkansas Qualifier. The Cabot, Ark. native currently has the third-best indoor mark in the pole vault in Arkansas history.
All-session tickets for the 2016 SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships are now on sale. All-session ticket prices are $35 for reserved seating and $25 for adult general admission. Youth and general admission student tickets are available for $15.
Tickets will be available online, or by calling the Razorback Athletics Ticket Center at 800-982-4647. You can also visit the Ticket Center in person at 1295 S. Razorback Road, just east of Baum Stadium.
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.