Harter named coach of the year

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas women’s coach Lance Harter, men’s sprinter Omar McLeod and decathlete Nathanael Franks earned individual honors when the Southeastern Conference handed out awards Tuesday.

Harter was named SEC women’s coach of the year, McLeod was named the freshman runner of the year, and Franks was named co-scholar athlete of the year.

In addition, the SEC also announced its all-conference teams Tuesday. Raymond Higgs and Stanley Kebenei (All-SEC first team), Franks, Gabe Gonzalez, Anthony May and Jarrion Lawson (All-SEC second team), and McLeod, Larry Donald and Clive Pullen (All-Freshman team) were recognized from the men’s team. Grace Heymsfield, Sandi Morris, Diane Robison, Dominique Scott (All-SEC first team), Taylor Ellis-Watson, Daina Harper, Jessica Kamilos, Danielle Nowell, Ariel Voskamp, Chrishuna Williams and Regine Williams (All-SEC second team), and Samantha Mohler (All-Freshman team) were recognized from the women’s team.

McLeod earned freshman of the year honors after posting a personal-best 110-hurdle time of 13.50, which ranks second all-time at Arkansas and makes him the eighth-fastest in the NCAA. McLeod, who also was named SEC Freshman of the Year during the indoor season, is scheduled to compete in the 110 and 400 hurdles during the NCAA West Preliminary meet, which begins in Fayetteville on Thursday.

“When you are around him before he runs he has a different mindset,” coach Chris Bucknam said. “He is a focused individual. When he comes out there it’s wartime. It’s a great honor for him and our team the way he steps up when the lights are on.”

Harter, meanwhile, was named SEC Coach of the Year for the fourth time.

The honor came after he led Arkansas to its first SEC Outdoor championship since 2004. The Razorbacks won four event titles during the meet and finished with 123 points, including a 1-2-3 finish in the 5,000 meters.

“Any time your peers support you — it’s nice they do that voluntarily,” Harter said of the honor. “It’s obviously a reflection on what your team did in its given season.”

Both the Arkansas men’s and women’s track teams will open competition at the NCAA West Preliminary meet Thursday at John McDonnell Field.