FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas Razorback track and field will welcome the nation’s top collegians and professionals to Fayetteville with the hosting of the 2009 Tyson Invitational, Fri.-Sat., Feb 13-14, at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
2008 NCAA Indoor Champion and collegiate-record holder Bianca Knight leads the field in the Tyson Foods women’s 200 meters that includes 2008 Olympic 4×400-meter relay gold medalist Natasha Hastings. Knight will first run in the Visa women’s 60 meters where she will face 2006 World Indoor Champion Lisa Barber, 2007 World Outdoor bronze medalist Carmelita Jeter and 2008 Olympians Marshevet Hooker and Muna Lee.
2006 U.S. Indoor Champion Chris Lukezic, currently in third place in the Race for the Visa Championships, and American record-holder Alan Webb will take on 2008 Olympic 1,500-meter bronze medalist Nick Willis in the Tyson Foods John McDonnell men’s mile. Willis is fresh off his win at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games in a race where Lukezic finished third and Webb fourth.
Oregon’s Galen Rupp will face Liberty’s Sam Chelanga in the men’s 5,000 meters. At the 2008 NCAA Cross Country Championships, Chelanga raced out to an early lead that but Rupp bided his time and closed the gap and the two ran shoulder-to-shoulder the last half of the race until Rupp made his move with 200 meters remaining. Rupp then sprinted away and edged Chelanga in the final straightaway to win his first individual title.
Last weekend, Rupp ran 7:44.69 in the 3,000 meters at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games to break the 11 year-old American collegiate record of 7:46.03, set by Adam Goucher of Colorado on March 14, 1998 in Indianapolis. Rupp’s time was just over :06 off the overall collegiate record of 7:38.59 set by Arkansas’ Alistair Cragg in 2004.
The Visa men’s shot put field from last year will be back in action with the reigning champion, two-time Olympic silver medalist and three-time World Outdoor medalist Adam Nelson looking to improve upon his facility-record throw of 73-6. Joining him will be 2007 World Outdoor Champion and two-time World Indoor medalist Reese Hoffa, former NCAA Champion Dan Taylor, three-time Southeastern Conference Champion and All-American Cory Martin and 2006 NACAC champion and Jamaican record-holder Dorian Scott.
American record holder and Olympic silver medalist Jenn Stuczynski is set to defend her 2008 winning jump of 15-2.75 in the Nutrilite women’s pole vault. Chasing her will be former Razorback and 2008 Olympian April Steiner Bennett, 2000 Olympic gold medalist Stacy Dragila and 2008 Olympian Erica Bartolina.
In addition to the countless successful professional, Randal Tyson track center will also house the nation’s best collegians Friday night. LSU’s Trindon Holliday (60 meters, NCAA No. 2), Northern Iowa’s Tyler Mulder (800 meters, NCAA No. 2), Arkansas’ Dorian Ulrey (mile, NCAA No. 2) and Auburn’s Girma Mecheso (5,000 meters, NCAA No. 5) are scheduled to compete.
On the women’s side, LSU’s Samantha Henry (200 meters, NCAA No. 8), Tennessee’s Sarah Bowman (mile, NCAA No. 1), Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego (mile, NCAA 5K No. 1), UNC’s Brie Felnagle (mile, NCAA 3K No. 3) and Arkansas’ Katie Stripling (pole vault, NCAA No. 4) will also be in attendance.
The 2009 Tyson Invitational schedule is finalized. Collegiate events will be held Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Invitational events will be held Friday, 8-10 p.m.
On Fri., Feb. 13, field events will begin at 10 a.m. with running starting at 11 a.m. Invitational events will begin at 8 p.m. On Sat., Feb. 14, field events will begin at 10 a.m. and running events will begin at 10:55 a.m. The doors will open to spectators one hour before the first event.
There will be no charge for admission to Friday and Saturday’s collegiate events. After the 4 p.m. 60 meters is completed on Friday, the Randal Tyson Track Center will close to prepare for Friday night’s invitational events.
Tickets must be purchased for the invitational portion of the meet from 8-10 p.m. Ticket prices for the invitational events are: $20 reserved seating, $10 general admission and children under 12 get in free with a paid adult. Tickets can be purchased on site or by calling 800-766-4626.
Parking is available on a first come, first serve basis. The lot directly in front of the Randal Tyson Track Center will be reserved. Fans and competitors should park in the large lot in front of and across from the Razorback ticket office and baseball stadium. Team buses will be able to drop-off in close proximity to the Tyson Center but will be asked to move to an available lot.
Results will be posted in designated areas on the Randal Tyson Track Center. Live and complete results will be available online at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
The 2009 Tyson Invitational will be broadcast Sun., Feb. 15, 4-6 p.m. CST on ESPN. For more information visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com or www.tysoninvitational.net.
Download: Tyson Invite Sched.pdf