NCAA Women’s Teams — Arkansas Wins In Thrilling Fashion

While his squad celebrates a comethrough win, Hog coach Lance Harter gets hugs, stage right. (MIKE SCOTT)

THERE WAS NO FAIRY-TALE ENDING for USC this time around. Last year the Trojans had come from behind in improbable fashion in the climactic 4×4 to win the team title. The crown indeed came down to the 4×4 once more, but the big trophy moved from SoCal to Arkansas. The Razorbacks had a chart-busting final day while the Trojans suffered a major hit.

Our premeet formchart had projected the closest of battles, with USC favored by a point 65–64. But when Saturday rolled around, our recast compilation showed the defending champs as overwhelming favorites, 72-52. It just didn’t work out that way. The changes were small and subtle as USC started losing points and Arkansas started gaining them. And when Razorback Taylor Werner got an unlooked-for 2nd in the 5000 the two squads were tied at 56 apiece going into the relay. One race for all the marbles. It didn’t matter where either team finished, just so long as it beat the other, even if in 7th and 8th. USC appeared to hold all the cards, being tabbed as No. 1 and with Arkansas back in 5th. But disaster struck the favorites on the third leg and they would end up last, with Arkansas 2nd, ending up 64–57 team winners.

Said Arkansas head Lance Harter, “This was 100% a team effort that came right down to the mile relay. ‘We have to do the challenge by USC, they were on a roll,’ we just told the mile relay, ‘You’ve just got to get the stick around.’ Fortunately, we were able to do that. Anytime you can win a national title, that’s a very special moment, no matter how many you accumulate. But I have a fantastic staff with Chris Johnson and Bryan Compton, and with the athletes we’re able to have, they’re so special, and they were so united in what they wanted to do and this weekend, and the national title was always the challenge at hand. We brought the largest squad here, and they rose to the challenge. Some people had an off day, but we had others fill the void.

“Cumulatively, that was a total team effort.”


NCAA WOMEN’S TEAM RESULTS

(8 places scored 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1)

1. Arkansas 64;

2. USC 57;

3. LSU 43;

4. Texas A&M 38;

5. Oregon 34;

6. Florida 32;

7. Alabama 29;

8. New Mexico 27;

9. Colorado 24;

=10. Florida State, South Carolina, Stanford & Texas 20;

14. Kentucky 19½;

15. North Carolina A&T 19;

16. Kansas State 16;

=17. North Carolina, Penn & Washington 14;

=20. Boise State & Miami 13;

=22. Arizona State & Oklahoma State 12;

24. Ohio State 11;

=25. BYU, Cal, Iowa, Texas Tech & UCLA 10;

=30. Notre Dame & Virginia 9;

=32. Auburn, Indiana State, Northwestern Louisiana & San Diego State 8;

=36. Missouri & Wofford 7;

38. Villanova 6½;

=39. Colorado State & UNLV 6;

=41. Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Rhode Island, Rutgers, TCU & UCSB 5;

=48. Akron, Arizona, Indiana, Michigan State, Monmouth, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota State & UC Davis 4;

=57. Albany, Incarnate Word, Norfolk State, North Dakota, Oklahoma 3;

=62. Baylor, Kennesaw State, Syracuse & South Dakota 2;

=66. Georgia, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Wichita State & Wisconsin 1.

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