FAYETTEVILLE – After two straight weekends on the road, the No. 9 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team returns to its home track April 22-23 for the John McDonnell Invitational in Fayetteville. Competition on both days of the home event is scheduled to begin at noon. This weekend’s meet marks the second of three home events for the Razorbacks this season.
"It seems that we’re going to be battling the weather all weekend," head coach Lance Harter said. "So, in between storms, it’s a matter of continuing to get qualifying marks. We’d like to get some good quality things going this weekend. In the distances, the 800 meters is going to be the featured event. We feel like we have some people that can post some fast times."
Arkansas will be joined by teams from Memphis, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts, Tulsa, UMKC and Missouri Southern. The Sooners’ track and field team is ranked No. 6 in the latest release of the USTFCCCA national poll.
Entering the weekend, the Razorbacks have seven top-10 national marks spread among five events. Tina Sutej is the national leader in the pole vault with teammate Tara Diebold holding the No. 9 clearance in the event. Shelise Williams and Regina George are ranked second and fifth, respectively, in the 400 meters, while Stephanie Brown is No. 9 in the 1,500 meters. Makeba Alcide owns the fifth-best point total in the heptathlon. The Razorbacks’ 4×400-meter relay has run the No. 2 time in the NCAA.
Last weekend, Arkansas collected four wins-one at the 53rd Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., and three at the John Jacobs Invitational in Norman, Okla. Williams ran to a first-place finish in the university section of the 400 meters in her home state of California. Victories at the Jacobs meet came from Brittany Hyter in the 100-meter hurdles, Natanya Luther in the 1,500 meters and the 4×400-meter relay.
In the most recent release of the USTFCCCA national poll, Arkansas slid back one spot to No. 9, its original position in the 2011 preseason rankings. Including the Razorbacks, the SEC continues to have five teams inside the top 25. This week’s release is the final set of rankings that will take into account preseason information; the April 26 poll will reflect only in-season performance.
The meet will be broadcast via tape delay on CST in Northwest Arkansas. Air dates are May 1 at 11 a.m. (CT), May 3 at 3 p.m. and May 12 at 7 p.m. To follow this weekend’s action at John McDonnell Field, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com for a video stream, live results and interactive blog.
Download: Notes 16_John McDonnell Invitational.pdf