FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas women’s track and field team will open its 2011 season Friday afternoon with the Arkansas Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The season-opening meet is scheduled to include the teams from Oklahoma and Ole Miss along with several individual and unattached entries.
"We’re looking forward to the opportunity for our newcomers to shine and show themselves in the collegiate environment," head coach Lance Harter said. "We’re also going to be racing some of our horses led by Shelise Williams and Regina George. There are some exciting times to look forward to this season."
In the preseason poll released Thursday by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association, Arkansas is ranked sixth in the nation. The Razorbacks are one of six Southeastern Conference teams in the preseason top 25. Along with Arkansas, that group includes LSU (No. 3), Tennessee (4), Auburn (7), South Carolina (20) and Kentucky (21).
Competition begins with the women’s high jump at 1 p.m. (CT). The running events get underway at 3 p.m. with the preliminary rounds of the 60-meter hurdles and 60 meters. Finals for the running events begin at 3:50 p.m. and will wrap with the women’s 4×400-meter relay, set for a 7:10 p.m. start. Live results can be found at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Six of Arkansas’ eight returning All-Americans are scheduled to make their season debuts Friday. Regina George, Whitney Jones and Shelise Williams slated to compete in the 400 meters. They will also make up three legs of the ‘A’ 4×400-meter relay with Gwendolyn Flowers. Stephanie Brown will be a member of the ‘B’ mile-relay quartet.
Tina Sutej, the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships runner-up, will lead the pole vault crew which includes the return of Tara Diebold who redshirted during last season.
"We’ve had some great track teams in the past, two of which won (conference) triple crowns," Harter said. "We feel this team has that kind of capability this year. We’ve got balance, we’ve got experience and we’ve got some depth so we’re looking forward to some good things."
The Arkansas Invitational marks the first of five home indoor meets for the Razorbacks this season. The remaining 2011 indoor home schedule features the Razorback Invitational (Jan. 28-29), Tyson Invitational (Feb. 11-12), SEC Championships (Feb. 25-27) and Arkansas Last Chance (March 4).
Download: ArkInvite start list_1.6.11.pdf