FAYETTEVILLE – Three weeks into the 2011 outdoor season, the No. 9 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team heads to the 84th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. This year’s event will be held April 6-9 at the Mike A. Meyers Track Stadium in Austin, Texas. Action begins Wednesday with the heptathlon and concludes Saturday with the running of the 4×400-meter relays.
"Texas Relays has always been considered the true opener of the outdoor season," head coach Lance Harter said. "Obviously, it is primarily a relay format but it gives a great group of athletes a chance to really begin the season. For our distance crew, it’s a last-second preparation in response to the Mt. SAC Relays which are the following week. We’re starting to get into the thrust of our outdoor season and we’re looking forward to some quality performances."
The Razorbacks are one of 12 top-25 teams scheduled to compete this weekend at Texas Relays. Of that group, Arkansas is one of eight teams inside the top 10 set to take the track in Austin. This marks the third meet of the outdoor season for the Razorbacks who opened at the Stanford Invitational before hosting a home meet last weekend in Fayetteville.
Among its entries, Arkansas is scheduled to compete in the 4×100, 4×400, 4×1,500 and sprint-medley relays. Last season, the Razorbacks won the 4×400-meter event with a time of 3:31.20. Regina George, Whitney Jones and Shelise Williams return from that team. The sprint-medley school record fell at last year’s Texas Relays thanks to the collective effort of Jones, George, Williams and Stephanie Brown.
Competition begins Wednesday with Makeba Alcide and Leah Orley taking part in their first heptathlon of the season. Alcide enters the seven-event series off an All-American indoor season. Orley is also schedule to compete in the 400-meter hurdles along with Brittany Hyter who will also join teammates Breeana Coleman and Ivanique Kemp in the 100-meter hurdles. The other individual entry on the track is Paige Johnston in the 1,500 meters.
Arkansas’ efforts in the field events will include Rebecca Gorden in the javelin, Kirsten Hesseltine in the high jump, Jones and Shantel Thompson in the long jump and Tina Sutej, Tara Diebold, Megan Weller and Danielle Nowell in the pole vault.
The Razorbacks have earned 12 Texas Relays titles in program history, including four event wins last year in Austin. The came in the steeplechase, pole vault, 4×400-meter relay and 4×800-meter relay. The four victories in 2010 are the most for Arkansas in a single year at the annual event. Arkansas’ first win at Texas Relays came in 1999 by Tracy Robertson in the 1,500 meters.
Arkansas maintains its No. 9 national ranking with the release of the first regular-season poll of the outdoor season by the USTFCCCA. The Razorbacks are one of four teams from the SEC ranked within the nation’s top 25 along with No. 2 LSU, No. 11 Tennessee and No. 12 Auburn.
To follow this week’s action at Texas Relays, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com for an interactive blog and live results. The interactive blog for the event will begin with Friday’s afternoon session.
Download: Notes 14_Texas Relays.pdf