Lady'Backs On Top At SECs

NASHVILLE, Tenn., -- Everything is on the line tonight.

After six events the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks are in prime position to win their 17th Southeastern Conference Championship and fourth outdoor title.

Arkansas scored 21 points in Saturday's steeplechase as Maureen Scott won her second-consecutive title in the event with a time of 10:27.29.

Scott, who has recently been recovering from a back injury, easily qualified for regionals as did three other Lady'Backs (Tiffany Redlarczyk, Laura Kerr and Shiloh Whiting).

"It was a courageous effort on (Scott's) behalf," said Arkansas coach Lance Harter. "I knew she was real confident and she wanted to defend her title."

Redlarczyk, a freshman, finished third in a time of 10:37.97. Kerr was sixth and Whiting was seventh.

The Lady'Backs now enjoys a small lead over Georgia, 52.2-46.2, and are aiming to score big points today as 14 finals are contested on both the track and in the field.

Tennessee, the SEC Indoor champions, are in third with 32 points, Auburn is fourth with 31, LSU is fifth with 22 and Alabama has 21 in sixth.

Kasia Williams ran the top qualifying time in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.18.

Williams has been consistently in the low 13s lately and is primed to win her first outdoor title.

"I feel like I'm ready to run fast and now is a good time," Williams said. "I'm trying to break 13 seconds (today)."

It was a rough day for Beyonka McDowell, who set two school records in the heptathlon Thursday and Friday en route to a third place finish. But it looked as if two days of grueling heptathlon competition took its toll on the senior from Vallejo, Calif., as she failed to qualify for today's finals in the long jump and 100 hurdles.

In both events she finished one place from qualifying.

"Those were events where we had hoped to pick up a point here and a point there, but I think we made up some ground (in the steeplechase)," Harter said.

It was a good day for Erica Sigmont and Dacia Barr in the 1,500 meters. Sigmont coasted into the finals running 4:35.81 expending little energy where she was looking around with 10 meters to go just to makes sure she finished in the top four.

"I'm back," Sigmont said. "I didn't want to waste anything. I already had the automatic qualifying time and fourth place was like five seconds behind me so, I didn't waste much."

Barr qualified with a 4:30.85, but was in a race which was run at a faster pace.

Points are expected out of both Sigmont and Barr when the finals fire off at 6:30 p.m.

High jumper Michelle Martin picked up 1.2 points finishing in a tie for sixth with four other jumpers with a clearance of 5 feet, 5 inches.

Arkansas also gets a point boost with Alabama having to pull out from the 4x100 relay because of an injury to Rachel Wilson, who fell after tripping over a hurdle in the 100 hurdle prelims Saturday.

Florida's 4x400 relay also became weaker after Tiandra Ponteen withdrew from the meet with an injury.

Also competing in today's finals are Aneita Denton and Sigmont in the 800, Stacie Manuel in the pole vault, Laura Jokosky, Beth Fahey, and Jessie Gordon in the 5,000.

"We've got to control our own destiny and hope for some breaks," Harter said.

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