Arkansas women sustain dominance
Arkansas Razorbacks freshman Taylor Werner ran like a veteran in her first SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Werner won the 5,000 meters Saturday after taking second in the 3,000 Friday night to help the University of Arkansas women take the team title with 106.5 points.
LSU finished second with 94 points and was followed by Kentucky (71) and Georgia (64).
Werner scored 18 points in her two events to match the combined total for South Carolina’s and Vanderbilt’s teams in the meet.
“Anybody that can do that type of distance double, no matter what classification, is a pretty unique athlete,” Arkansas Coach Lance Harter said. “To do it as a freshman, that might be unprecedented in this business.
“Taylor’s just a warrior when it comes to competing. She’s very poised and puts herself in good position in her races. She just won’t be denied.”
Arkansas won its seventh SEC indoor title and ninth consecutive conference championship in cross country and indoor track.
The last time the Razorbacks didn’t win an SEC title was at the 2014 indoor meet when they finished third behind Florida and Texas A&M.
“Any time you can win an SEC title, you treasure them, because they’re so difficult to win,” Harter said. “Many a time we’ve come up a couple points short here and there.
“I told the kids, ‘Whenever you do win, you’d better cherish the moment, because it’s not automatic that it’s going to happen again.’”
Arkansas senior Daina Harper won the 400 in 52.03.
Harter credited Razorbacks assistant Chris Johnson, who coaches the sprinters and hurdlers, with helping Harper become an SEC champion.
“She’s just really starting to come into her own, and it’s a tribute to Chris Johnson’s coaching,” Harter said. “She was a pretty average kid out of high school, and now she’s one the best in the nation.
“She really showed her strength at the end of the race.”
Razorbacks junior Taliyah Brooks took sixth in the high jump Saturday (5-6½) after finishing second in the pentathlon and eighth in the long jump Friday. Her meet total was 12 points.
“Taliyah was the workhorse of the meet for us,” Harter said. “She’s just a great competitor.”
The Razorbacks scored 12 points in the mile with Nikki Hiltz taking fourth, Therese Haiss fifth, Valerie Reina seventh and Carina Viljoen eighth. They also got a fourthplace finish from Ceara Watson in the 800.
Arkansas took second in the distance medley relay to clinch the team title and capped the meet with a thirdplace finish in the 1,600 relay.
Arkansas sophomore twin sisters Tori and Lexi Weeks took 1-2 in the pole vault Friday night when both cleared 15-0.
“It was just a total team effort,” Harter said. “We were snagging points anywhere we could get them.”