Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Wesley Hitt)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - Based on their respective performances last weekend at the Texas A&M Triangular, Regina George and Sandi Morris have earned Southeastern Conference weekly accolades. George was named the SEC Co-Runner of the Week while Morris collected SEC Field Athlete of the Week honors.
On the national stage, the University of Arkansas women's track and field team has moved to No. 5 in the current coaches' poll.
George opened her season with a pair of NCAA-best performances at the Texas A&M Triangular. She ran to a nation-leading time of 53.30 and a win at 400 meters. It marked the fastest season opener of her career. George capped the tri-meet competition with a 4x400-meter relay victory with teammates Makeba Alcide, Gwendolyn Flowers and Chrishuna Williams. The foursome combined for an NCAA-leading time of 3:36.03, taking more than a second off the then-national leader. She added a fourth-place finish at 200 meters during Saturday's meet.
"You don't have to say much about Regina George," head coach Lance Harter said. "She's a great competitor and leads by example with her performance. She was very fired up about the idea of scoring so she was a little disheartened that we didn't win (the tri meet) but she gave everything she possibly could."
Morris took the national lead in the pole vault with her first-place performance Saturday at the Texas A&M Triangular. She secured the event title with a final clearance of 4.31m/14-1.75. The win marked her second in as many competitions this season. With the result, Morris also set the Texas A&M dual-meet record and established a new personal best. She was the only performer in the nation over 14 feet during the weekend.
"Sandi Morris has been a huge addition to our team," Harter said. "She has two wins in two weeks. Jumping 14-1 is nothing to be shy about. That's a national-leading mark, and she looks to have a lot more in her."
Arkansas moved up two spots in the Jan. 22 release of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll. The Razorbacks are now the No. 5 team in the country, up from its seventh-place spot in the preseason ranking. Arkansas is part of a four-team logjam of top-10 SEC teams. Overall, seven teams from the conference are ranked in this week's top 25.
The Razorbacks racked up three NCAA-leading marks, seven event wins, 12 career-best performances and two meet records last Saturday at the Texas A&M Triangular. During the meet with LSU and Texas A&M, Arkansas collected wins from George at 400 meters, Morris in the pole vault, Martine Borge at 800 meters, Diane Robison at 3,000 meters, Ivanique Kemp in the 60-meter hurdles, and the 4x400-meter and distance-medley relays.
The marks by George (53.30), Morris (4.31m/14-1.75) and the 4x400m relay (3:36.03) are the top performances in the NCAA this season. In addition to those three events, the Razorbacks own five SEC-best efforts along with Robison at 3,000 meters and Tamara Myers in the triple jump.
Arkansas next hosts the Razorback Team Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. The two-day, 11-team competition will be held Jan. 25-26 and feature eight teams ranked in this week's coaches' poll.
USTFCCCA Top 10 || Jan. 22
1. Clemson - 169.23 points
2. Kansas - 145.02
3. Oregon - 142.39
4. Texas A&M - 133.61
5. ARKANSAS - 126.22
6. LSU - 123.72
7. Florida - 110.86
8. Washington - 86.35
9. Iowa State - 75.22
10. UCF - 75.00