FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 11 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team will hit the road this weekend for a trio of competitions, splitting between Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pa.; Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa; and the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif. Competition at the two Relay events will be held April 28-30 while the Jordan Invitational is set to run May 1.
The weekend’s competition for the Razorbacks begins Thursday at Penn Relays with the pole vault, javelin and 3,000 meters. The sprinters and jumpers will get started Friday morning at Drake Relays, while the distance crew runs Sunday evening at Stanford.
"Philosophically, we’ve always had the idea that we have to do what’s best for the individual athlete," head coach Lance Harter said. "Penn Relays is a great competition, as is Drake, but sometimes you need to get qualifying marks and those events are heavy loaded with an emphasis on relays, and we still have some qualifying to do before we go to Georgia (for the SEC Championships)."
The Razorbacks have 13 event victories at Penn Relays, including two wagon wheels for a pair of relay victories-the distance-medley relay in 2000 and the 4×1,500 relay in 2001. More recently, Arkansas has won five pole vault titles in the last eight years at Franklin Field, including last year’s win by Tina Sutej. At Drake Relays, the Razorbacks have four wins, including victories in the 4×200 and 4×400 relays in 2007.
Arkansas enters the weekend with seven top-10 national marks spread among five events. Sutej remains the national leader in the pole vault with her 14-9 clearance at Texas Relays and teammate Tara Dieboldholds the No. 10 mark in the event. Shelise Williams and Regina George are ranked second and eighth, respectively, in the 400 meters, while Stephanie Brown is No. 10 in the 1,500 meters. In the heptathlon, Makeba Alcide own the fifth-best point total in the country and the Razorbacks’ 4×400-meter relay has run the No. 2 time in the NCAA.
Last weekend, the team came away with five wins at the John McDonnell Invitational in Fayetteville. The wins came from Alcide in the high jump and long jump, Sutej in the pole vault, Rebecca Gorden in the javelin and the 4×100-meter relay. The victory by Sutej extends her winning streak in the event to 10 competitions, dating back to the beginning of the 2011 indoor season. Leah Orley finished second in the heptathlon with a personal-best 5,090 points.
Arkansas is ranked No. 11 in the April 26 release of the USTFCCCA Top 25. Including the Razorbacks, the SEC has five teams ranked inside the national poll, all within the top 20. Along with Arkansas, the SEC is represented by top-ranked LSU, No. 13 Auburn, No. 16 Tennessee and No. 19 Georgia.
The John McDonnell Invitational will be aired by Cox Sports Television on tape-delay May 1 at 11 a.m. (CT), May 3 at 3 p.m. and May 12 at 7 p.m. For more information and meet-day coverage, including interactive blog and live results, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: Notes 17_Penn, Drake, Stanford.pdf