This article originally appeared in the May 2, 2013 issue of The Arkansas Traveler.
Men’s Outdoor Track & Field
The No. 4 men’s track and field team won the Indoor National Championship in March and I expect the outdoor team to do the same.
With one week until the Southeastern Conference Championships, Arkansas owns 35 top 10 marks in 17 different events, including three No. 1 marks, amongst SEC schools
If they can out-perform No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Texas A&M, the Razorbacks will earn their seventh consecutive SEC Championship, including indoor track & field and cross country, May 12.
Whether they win the SEC or not, Arkansas will have a great chance to win the National Championship in Eugene, Ore., and as long as they perform like they did in the Indoor Championships, they’ll win their 42nd title in program history.
Women’s Outdoor Track & Field
Despite their No. 6 national ranking, I predict the women’s track and field team to finish second at the SEC Championships. With No. 1 Texas A&M, No. 3 Florida and No. 4 LSU in the same conference, it would be very difficult to jump all three teams to finish first.
However, with four SEC-leading marks, it is very possible. In all, the Razorbacks have 28 to- 10 marks in 17 different events amongst SEC schools.
While they have talent, I don’t think Arkansas will have enough firepower to score enough points at the NCAA Outdoor Championships to finish any higher than third.
Arkansas’ final three series of the season are against opponents with a combined 22-41 SEC record, but they travel to No. 23 Kentucky this weekend.
If the Razorbacks can go 6-3 or better in the remaining games and win two or more games in the SEC tournament, they will have a good chance to host a Regional.
Once they win the Regional, I predict Arkansas will have to travel to Arizona State for their Super Regional. Riding their strong pitching staff, Arkansas will win a tight game three to advance to Omaha, Neb., where they’ll win the first College World Series in school history.
Razorback fans should be cautious though, as hitting and fielding have been weak points this season. If they can solidify their fielding and come through with a few timely hits, the College World Series is highly possible.
After earning their first national ranking in school history last week, the UA softball team moved up to No. 22 this week.
They are 9-10 in SEC play, which is third in the SEC West. Their last regular season games are this weekend against Auburn at Bogle Park. I think they will win two of three and finish the regular season with a .500 record in the SEC for the first time since 2000.
While the Razorbacks could host a Regional, I doubt they will. I do think they’ll go to another team’s home field and win their first Regional in school history.
Led by senior pitchers Hope McLemore and Chelsea Cohen, Arkansas has a chance to advance to the Women’s College World Series, but their season will most likely end in the Super Regionals.
Arkansas finished sixth in the SEC Men’s Golf Team Championship, but junior Sebastian Cappelen won the individual title by shooting 3-under-par. His 202 is a 54-hole record in the SEC.
The Razorbacks are No. 14 in the most recent poll, so I expect them to easily make the NCAA tournament with a three- or four-seed. The Razorbacks will host the NCAA Fayetteville Regional at Blessings Golf Course.
As a team, I think their season will end in the Regionals, but Cappelen could easily finish in the top 10 in the individual championship. If the Razorbacks want to advance out of the Regionals, they’ll need a strong performance from freshman Taylor Moore.
Moore earned Freshman All-SEC and co-Freshman of the Year honors this season and will have to continue this play into the postseason. However, I think Arkansas’ best chance at a National Championship run is still a year away, when Cappelen is a senior and Moore is an experienced sophomore.
The women’s golf team enters the NCAA tournament as the No. 2 seed in the East Regional. They are ranked No. 6 nationally.
Eight of the 24 teams in the East Regional will advance to the championship finals, so the Razorbacks should easily qualify, but I predict they’ll knock off No. 1 Alabama and win the Regional.
Like the men’s team, they will need a strong performance from their star junior and freshman. Junior Emily Tubert averages a 73.29 score per round, while freshman Gabriela Lopez averages a 73.64. They are also the only two Razorbacks to win a tournament this season.
If Tubert and Lopez have great scores and a few other Razorbacks chip in, I think Arkansas will finish in the top four in the National Championship.