FAYETTEVILLE – After a week away from competition, the No. 6 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team will host the Razorback Invitational this weekend, Jan. 28-29, at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The home meet is scheduled to feature seven teams ranked in the latest release of the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national poll.
Events begin at 11 a.m. (CT) on both days of the event. The first 250 fans in attendance will receive a pack of Razorback Silly Bandz. This weekend marks the third competition of the 2011 indoor campaign for the Razorbacks.
"This meet was originally designed with the idea of getting national-qualifying marks," head coach Lance Harter said. "We’re bringing in the best group of teams that we could possibly assemble and let them go head-to-head in good, quality competition from the 60-meter dash to the 5K and in every field event."
In the Jan. 25 release of the USTFCCCA Top 25, Arkansas is the sixth-ranked team in the nation, the same spot it occupied in the preseason poll. This marks the first in-season rankings of the year. The Razorbacks are the third-highest ranked Southeastern Conference team. In addition to Arkansas, the weekend’s field of teams includes No. 19 Arizona, No. 25 Baylor, No. 14 Florida State, Iowa, No. 3 LSU, No. 17 Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Stanford, TCU and No. 18 Texas.
Entering the Razorback Invitational, Arkansas is scattered throughout the NCAA event rankings including a handful of top-10 marks. Stephanie Brown owns the nation’s top time in the 800 meters at 2:06.75 while Shelise Williams (54.16) and (Regina George) are sixth and eighth, respectively, in the 400 meters. Tina Sutej has the second-best clearance (14-5.25) in the pole vault and Tara Diebold is sixth (13-9.25). Sutej’s mark is an NCAA automatic qualifier.
The Razorbacks’ 4×400-meter relay of George, Williams, Gwendolyn Flowers and Whitney Jones has combined for a time of 3:36.69, the third-best time in the NCAA. The 4×400-meter relay final, scheduled for Saturday at 3:30 p.m., is set to feature three of the top four times in the nation this year with TCU (3:35.97), Arkansas and LSU (3:37.49).
Friday’s competition begins at 11 a.m. with the pentathlon. Field events are scheduled to start at 3 p.m. with the shot put and running heats begin at 6 p.m. with the 60 meters. To follow this weekend’s action at the Randal Tyson Track Center, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com for a video stream, interactive blog and live results.