NEW YORK – Three weeks into the 2007 indoor track season, the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team heads out on the road for the first time to compete at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in New York City.
The Lady Razorbacks are part of an elite group of teams invited to participate in the seventh annual New Balance meet held at the Armory Track Center. Last season the Lady Razorbacks finished fifth at the event with Stephanie Irwin winning the pole vault competition and former Lady’Back Penny Splichal qualifying for the NCAA Championships.
“This is a great meet for us to go to,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “There is always very good competition at the meet and it gives us an opportunity to take the team away from home to appreciate the facilities that we have at the University. Over the past several years we have done very well at the New Balance and this year’s competition should give us a measuring stick of where we are as a team.”
The Lady Razorbacks plan to compete in their primary events this weekend with added emphasis on the distances and sprint relay. Arkansas’ distance team is concentrated mostly in the 3,000 and 5,000-meter runs with six runners between the two events. The Lady Razorbacks also plan on running their four best 400-meter runners in the 1,600-meter relay. Arkansas’ relay posted the sixth time in the country two weeks ago at the Razorback Invitational despite running just three of its top four runners.
Arkansas has attended the New balance Collegiate Invitational four times over the years and has had the most success in the pole vault. In 2006, Irwin took the individual title while 2005 saw former Lady’Back Stacie Manuel take the championship. Another former Lady’Back April Steiner also had great success at the New York based meet.
The Lady Razorback’s history at the New Balance certainly isn’t held to just the pole vault. Arkansas’ school record in the distance medley relay was set at the Armory in 2005 where, then freshman, Tominque Boatright announced herself on the national scene in the 400-meter portion of the race.
Competition at the new Balance Collegiate Invitational begins on Friday morning at 11:00 a.m. and continues through Saturday evening. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.