SEC Preview: The Hunt For Number 7
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Named by the USTFCCCA as one of the best programs in the nation since preseason, the No. 2 Arkansas women’s track and field team will travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama this weekend for the 2016 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 12-14.
The Razorbacks hope to return to Fayetteville with the program’s seventh-consecutive conference victory – a streak that began during the 2014 outdoor season.
Arkansas returns three defending SEC event champions in the form of senior captains Taylor Ellis-Watson, Jessica Kamilos and Dominique Scott-Efurd.
Three of the most talented Razorbacks in program history in their respective disciplines, Ellis-Watson (sprints) and Kamilos and Scott-Efurd (distance) continue to exert their dominance in the conference through their final campaign in cardinal red and white.
A nine-time All-American out of Philadelphia, Ellis-Watson ran her fastest 400-meter dash time of 2015 during the finals of the last year’s championship. The performance earned Ellis-Watson her first individual event title. She returns to the SEC meet this season as the only competitor with a sub-51 second performance with her new lifetime best and program record 50.78 from the April 30 LSU Invitational.
Part of the 2015 NCAA indoor DMR national-title winning team, Kamilos emerged as a standalone power during last year’s outdoor season becoming one of the most dominant collegians in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Kamilos will look defend her conference steeplechase title at the final SEC meet of her career. She enters the competition as the event leader off her season’s best of 9:52.37.
Despite holding numerous program records, Scott-Efurd saw fit to break two of her previous records (5K and 10K) along the way to championship season.
The first Razorback to officially qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics, Scott-Efurd will first focus on replicating her magic from the 2015 SEC Outdoor Championships which saw the Capetown, South Africa, native claim two individual titles (1,500 and 5K) becoming the meet’s high point scorer.
Triple Crown Years (1999-2000, 2001-2002 and 2014-2015)
A team victory at the conference championships would mean not only the program’s seventh-consecutive title but also mark the program’s second-consecutive Triple Crown.
Events to Watch
• 200 – NCAA No. 1 Felicia Brown vs. No. 2 Taylor Ellis-Watson.
• 400 – Ellis-Watson will contend with Florida’s quarter-mile coalition led by Claudia Francis.
• 1,500 – Features top collegian Marta Freitas (Mississippi State); Razorbacks to watch: Therese Haiss, Nikki Hiltz and Dominique Scott-Efurd.
• 100H – Five SEC contenders have run under 13 seconds; Razorbacks to watch: Taliyah Brooks, Alex Gochenour and Payton Stumbaugh.
• 400H – Hurdle phenom Damajahnee Birch is the fastest freshman in the nation (56.46) and only underclassman among the best five of the conference.
• Pole Vault – Could be one of the largest contributors to Arkansas’ team total with four vaulters over 4.20/13-9 1/4.
• Heptathlon – Five NCAA top-10 performers including indoor pentathlon champion Kendell Williams; Razorbacks to watch: Brooks, Gochenour, Stumbaugh.
The 2016 SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships will begin Thursday, May 12 with the women’s heptathlon 100-meter hurdles at 11:00 a.m. CDT.
Meet information and live results can be found at the outdoor championships central.
A live broadcast of the competition on SEC Network+ will be available Friday, May 13 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 14 at 3:00 p.m.
The championship will also air Sunday, May 15 via tape delay from 2-4 p.m.
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.