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Related: FloTrack Team Rankings Week 10
How did the Razorbacks manage to find themselves in such a favorable position? Four projected individual NCAA titles and a lethal combination of doubles and top-five threats on the 15-woman NCAA roster.
Leading the title charge for the Razorbacks is Dominique Scott-Efurd, who ran the fastest 5K and 10K in the NCAA this season. The senior from South Africa is the only athlete in the NCAA to run under 15:30 this year. She also crushed the Olympic standard with her 10K season’s-best of 31:56. Scott is backed by the most championship experience out of anyone in the field with three NCAA titles and seven All-American honors to her name.
Watch Scott crush the Olympic standard at this year's Payton Jordan Invitational:
The sprint contingent is led by Taylor Ellis-Watson, an integral member of the current world-leading 4x400m who will also compete in the 4x100m and open 400m championship. Ellis-Watson anchored the Razorbacks' 4x400m relay team at the NCAA West Prelims to a winning time of 3:25.48, which stands as the seventh-best performance all-time. The relay is ranked No. 1 in the NCAA ahead of the defending champions, Texas. She was also part of the 4x100m relay squad that earned an automatic qualification out of the west. Individually, Ellis-Watson is projected to finish second in the open 400m with her breakout season’s best of 50.78, which is more than a full second behind six-time NCAA champion Courtney Okolo’s season’s-best mark of 49.71.
Superstar freshman Alexis Weeks is projected to win the pole vault after claiming the NCAA indoor title in March. Weeks jumped 4.64m this season, which stands as the 12th-best mark in the world this year. Her sister Victoria is also entered in the meet and could walk away with All-American honors if she performs better than her ninth-place projection. Their teammate, Ariel Voskamp, is also entered with a 10th-place projection after jumping a season’s-best mark of 4.20m at Texas Relays.
This talented pack of multi-event athletes should also make some noise this week for the Razorbacks: Taliyah Brooks (long jump, heptathlon), Alex Gochenour (100m hurdles, heptathlon), Payton Stumbaugh (100m hurdles, heptathlon), and Leigha Brown (heptathlon). Stumbaugh has a particularly strong chance to finish first or second in the 100m hurdles after running a season’s best of 12.83 in April, just shy of NCAA leader and NCAA Indoor champ Cindy Ofili’s season’s best.
Even more team points could be earned by senior standout Jessica Kamilos in the steeplechase. The veteran Razorback has enjoyed a breakout year after claiming the SEC title in a personal best of 9:48 three weeks ago. The mark lands her the No. 6 spot in the NCAA rankings.
With a solid group of individuals experiencing breakthrough years, Coach Harter’s squad should be able to take home the program’s first ever NCAA outdoor team title this weekend in Eugene, Oregon.