FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 12 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team will host the John McDonnell Invitational this weekend after two weekends away from its home facility. Action on both days of the April 22-23 meet is set to begin at noon (CT). This weekend’s meet will also include the first scheduled decathlon of the season for the Razorbacks’ multi-event competitors.
"Every race we run this weekend will be important because we’re finally going to get some kids in their open races," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "We haven’t put guys in those races, especially the open 200 and 400, because of the relays we’ve been running. We’ve done some good things with our relays but now is the time to put some marks up in those individual races, too."
The John McDonnell Invitational is the second of three home meets for Arkansas during the outdoor season. Other teams in the field include Memphis, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts, Tulsa, UMKC and Missouri Southern. The Sooners are No. 17 in this week’s national poll and Missouri Southern is ranked No. 25 in Division II.
The Razorbacks have five top-10 national marks in five events heading into this weekend’s meet. With his performance last week in the 1,500 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays, Duncan Phillips owns the No. 2 time in the NCAA. Raymond Higgs has the fifth-best mark in the long jump, while Marek Niit and Eric Fernandez are both No. 9 in the 100 meters and 10,000 meters, respectively. Arkansas’ 4×100-meter relay has the No. 10 time this season in the country.
Last weekend, the distance crew for the Razorbacks competed at the 53rd Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. Fernandez won the ‘A’ section of the university 5,000 meters in a personal-best time of 13:54.33, a career best by 12 seconds. The Razorbacks also got career-best efforts from Phillips and Tom Cattin-Masson in the 1,500 meters. Phillips (3:39.87) finished fourth overall, and was the second collegiate finisher, in the invitational section of the event.
Arkansas remains in the No. 12 spot in this week’s release of the USTFCCCA national poll. The Razorbacks are part of the NCAA-best nine teams from the SEC within the top-25 rankings. 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: JMcD Start Lists.pdf