Denton Shatters Teter's 13-Year-Old Record

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas senior Aneita Denton guaranteed her friends she'd break the Lady'Backs' 13-year-old record in the indoor 800 meters this season.

She just didn't say she'd do it Friday night.

Denton shattered the Arkansas record held by U.S. indoor 800-meter record-holder and 2004 Olympic semifinalist Nicole Teter with her fourth-place finish as the only collegian in a field featuring 10 professionals.

Denton finished the 800 in an NCAA-leading 2:03.91 to break the oldest record still on the Arkansas books set in 1992 by Teter in 2:04.58.

"Not bad company," said Lady'Backs coach Lance Harter, who coached Teter during his second season at Arkansas. "(Denton) even had a stumble early in the race. We knew she had something big inside her. She's strong and she's really ready.

"She's going to surprise some people. I think she did tonight."

The race was won by two-time Olympian Hazel Clark in 2:02.68. Denton finished ahead of former Mississippi State star and three-time NCAA champion Tiffany McWilliams (2:04.7), who went pro after her junior year last summer.

"I'm not going to say I knew I could beat them, but the way I've been training I knew I could run the same race as them at the same pace," Denton said. "I feel great."

Teter's clocking was the only Arkansas indoor record still standing since the Randal Tyson Track Center opened five years ago.

"I feel good," Denton said. "It felt fluid. It felt smooth. I didn't know what it would feel like. I thought it would be harder, but uh-uh."

Harter said spending time training with the cross country team has helped Denton's strength and her seniority has helped her maturity and poise.

Her time won't help him keep her a secret anymore, though.

"It's really coming together and it couldn't happen to a nicer kid," Harter said. "We let the cat out of the bag, didn't we?"

Seven-time NCAA champion, 2004 Olympic 5,000 meters finalist and former Razorback Alistair Cragg won the 3,000 meters in 7:40.53 with a strong kick in the final 100 meters to hold off Markos Geneti of Ethiopia.

Four-time NCAA All-American pole vaulter April Steiner was fourth in the pole vault (13 feet, 11.25 inches), coming in behind former UCLA star Tracy O'Hara on misses.

Five-time NCAA champion Melvin Lister, who won the triple jump at the U.S. Olympic Trials in meet record fashion with a leap of 58 feet, 4 inches on his third and final attempt of the finals, competed in the star-studded long jump Friday night.

Lister, who won the long jump at the 2000 Trials, was sixth Friday with a best leap of 25-6.

John Moffitt, the 2004 silver medalist in the long jump, was third (26-7.25) ahead of fellow former LSU star and Olympian Walter Davis (26-0.75).

Former Alabama star, NCAA and U.S. champion Miguel Pate won the event (26-9.25) and former rival while former Ole Miss Rebel, NCAA and World champion Savante Stringfellow was second (26-8.5).

Arkansas has hosted the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships every year since the Tyson Center opened in 2000 and it plans on keeping the meet in the nation's best facility for at least another three years.

The university's current contract is up after the NCAA Championships March 11-12, but Lady'Backs coach Lance Harter shot down Internet rumors that Arkansas wasn't bidding for the next contract.

Harter said the university just put in its bid to host for another three years and said Arkansas wouldn't have much of a choice even if it didn't want to continue to host the meet.

"A lot of that is by the demand of our peers because they don't want to go anywhere else," Harter said. "They want to come here."

Arkansas coach John McDonnell has 39 NCAA titles, 74 conference wins, five NCAA triple crowns and 124 various Coach of the Year honors.

Now he has his own web site.

Arkansas launched this week and the site is up and running, just like the Razorbacks.

The site features different aspects of McDonnell and his program with its history, tradition and facilities available for fans -- and most importantly -- recruits to learn about the most successful team and coach in collegiate sports history.

There are bios on the coaching staff and athletes, a downloadable media guide and track camp information.

Arkansas has benefited from the Internet helping potential recruits learn about the Hogs. Now they can go to one site to learn about McDonnell's winning formula.

"They can see how many national and conference championships we've won and why we've been so successful," McDonnell said.

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