Indoor track and field: Arkansas wins first national championship
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The top-ranked University of Arkansas women’s track and field team made history Saturday night at the Randal Tyson Track Center with the program’s first national championship. The victory is also the first at the Division I level for head coach Lance Harter and the first for any women’s program at Arkansas. The Razorbacks won three national event titles during the weekend to score a program-best 63 points atop the team standings.
Prior to Saturday’s result, the program had a previous high finish of third place at the 2000 national meet in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks entered the meet with a top-five finish in three of the previous four years before ascending to the top of the team podium. With 63 points, the Razorbacks posted the third-highest team total in meet history. Arkansas scored 50 of its points Saturday.
#NCAATF Scoring Breakdown >> 63 points
10 | 1. Dominique Scott – 3,000m
10 | 1. Sandi Morris – pole vault
10 | 1. Kamilos/McKnight/Haiss/Scott – DMR
8 | 2. Taylor Ellis-Watson – 400m
8 | 2. Harper/McKnight/Williams/Ellis-Watson – 4x400m
5 | 4. Chrishuna Williams – 800m
5 | 4. Alex Gochenour – pentathlon
2 | 7. Diane Robison – 5,000m
2 | 7. Tamara Myers – triple jump
2 | 7. Taliyah Brooks – pentathlon
1 | 8. Tamara Myers – long jump
Doubling back from Friday’s anchor of the victorious distance-medley relay, Scott claimed her first NCAA individual title with a first-place run at 3,000 meters. The Razorback senior crossed the finish line to a standing ovation from the home crowd in a time of 8:55.19, more than three seconds ahead of the runner-up. Scott is the second runner in program history to win an indoor title at 3,000 meters, joining Sarah Schwald who won in 1995.
Morris tied the NCAA indoor meet record in her victory in the pole vault, posting a final clearance of 4.60m/15-1. She was five-for-five to open the competition before her first miss at 15-1. She went on to clear the bar on the second attempt and win her first national title. With her result Saturday, Morris now has five winning clearance of 15 feet or higher this season. She joins Tina Sutej (2011, 2012) as a Razorback national champion in the pole vault.
In her NCAA debut with the Razorbacks, Ellis-Watson clocked in with a personal-best time of 51.52 in a runner-up finish at 400 meters. She was back on the track in the final event of the weekend with Williams, Daina Harper and Sparkle McKnight to finish second in the 4×400-meter relay. The quartet combined for a school-record time of 3:28.70, knocking nearly one second off the previous record. That time also represents the seventh-fastest time in NCAA history.
Alex Gochenour and Taliyah Brooks combined for seven points in the pentathlon with their respective fourth- and seventh-place finishes. Gochenour established personal bests in four of five events to finish with a personal-best score of 4,430 points which makes her the No. 9 all-time performer in NCAA history. In her meet debut, Brooks set two personal bests to score 4,230 points, also a lifetime best.
Williams’ first appearance on the track resulted in a fourth-place finish at 800 meters, crossing the finish line in 2:04.33 in her NCAA finals debut in the event. The Razorbacks’ remaining two points on the scoreboard came from Myers who was seventh in the triple jump. As the team’s lone double qualifier in two individual events, she picked up three points during the weekend couple with her showing in Friday’s long jump.