Ar­kan­sas women sus­tain dom­i­nance

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE - BOB HOLT

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.”

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