FAYETTEVILLE – After a one-year hiatus due to construction, the University of Arkansas hosts the John McDonnell Invitational Friday and Saturday, April 20-21 at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.
The McDonnell Invitational adds a new wrinkle in 2007 with the addition of a high school division that features some of the best talent in Northwest Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma to go along with the stout lineup of collegiate squads as well as several professional athletes.
“Because of the weather over the past two weekends, this is a big meet for us,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “We have a lot of the qualifiers that we’ve been expecting, but we need to improve upon those marks. Our sprinters and field event people have been hindered by rain and cold over the past two weekends and really need to get some great weather so they can run fast. Fortunately for us, the national weather service is calling for that weather this weekend. We also have a great facility to compete at so there shouldn’t be any excuses for us to improve on our marks.”
Arkansas plans to compete 27 women on its home surface Saturday in the collegiate portion of the meet. While most of the student-athletes are scheduled for the sprints, hurdles and field events, several 800, 1,500, 3,000 and steeplechasers are also scheduled to compete. Big events for the Lady Razorbacks include the 400 meters and pole vault where four Lady’Backs are entered in each event. The 400 will showcase three of the four runners of Arkansas’s 4×400-meter relay while the pole vault includes SEC record holder Jodi Unger and Mt. Ida native, Stephanie Irwin.
While the Lady Razorbacks compete on Saturday, April 21, competition at John McDonnell Field is slated to begin at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 20. All of the high school field events are scheduled for Friday evening as well as the 4×800-meter relay for both the boys and girls. Preliminary action for both the high school and college divisions is set for an early 9:00 a.m. start on Saturday with finals beginning at 3:00 p.m.
For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.