Women’s Track Team Still Dominant Despite Youth

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Women's Track

Former Razorback distance runner Dominique Scott-Efurd runs with senior distance runner Nikki Hiltz in the Arkansas Qualifier on Feb. 16.

 

 

Throughout history, the Razorback women’s track and field team has been a powerhouse in the track realm, and this still holds true today.

The program has produced over 20 Olympic athletes such as Veronica Campbell-Brown, Sandi Morris and Taylor Ellis-Watson, and it continues to add new talent to that list each year.

Now, the No. 2 women’s track and field team is just as strong as ever, recently winnings its 12th-consecutive Southeastern Conference title Feb. 25. The team took home multiple individual titles, as well, from redshirt senior Taliyah Brooks in the pentathlon and senior Nikki Hiltz in the mile race.

The underclassman represented the Hogs well. Freshman Jada Baylark finished second in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.04. Her time is the sixth-fastest time in the country.

Although the team is carrying on the winning tradition again this season, what sets this team apart from any other in program history is the dynamic the group has from different perspectives.

Redshirt sophomore Sydney Hammit credits the team’s liveliness as the difference compared to past teams she has been apart of, she said.

“Everyone has such big personalities, so no matter what we’re doing, we’re typically smiling and laughing,” Hammit said. “Also, everyone loves to compete, so that helps us during meets because we’ve pushed each other so hard in practice.”

Junior Carmen Sitz thinks the balance of upperclassmen to sophomores and freshmen helps the program thrive from season to season, she said.

“In past years, I have felt a lot of the team was carried by a select few of upperclassmen,” Sitz said. “This year, I feel like the team has been way more unified and inclusive. Lots of the younger girls are really stepping up this year and doing their part on the team.”

The underclassman outnumber the upperclassmen 37 to 25, but that has has created a solid foundation for the rest of the 2018 season and the years to come.

“We still have our strong upperclassmen, but I feel like we have a lot more depth this year,” Sitz said. “This season has been a blast so far.”

Throughout her three years in the UofA track program, junior Rachel Jantzi contributes this team’s success to the tunnel-vision mindset the program has.

“There are so many talented girls on the team this year who worked so hard and PRd at SECs when it mattered,” Jantzi said. “We have a really diverse team this year. So, that all helped us win.”

While the team consists of women from over five countries and 16 states, these students-athletes crafted a national championship team with their chemistry.

Junior Kiara Parker feels a different dynamic this year than in previous years, she said.

“We are more of a family than ever before,” Parker said. “We grew closer as the season progressed, and that's something we had to work on a lot this year.”

The team travels back to College Station, Texas, to compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships from March 10-11.

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