NEW YORK, N.Y. – The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track team is on the road for the first time this season, heading to the “Big Apple,” New York, N.Y., to compete at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational at the Armory, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 4-5.
Bringing a large contingent to the first of four premier competitions that Arkansas faces this winter, the Lady Razorback coaches hope to get their young team up to speed quickly before they face the toughest competitions in the country in the Southeastern Conference and NCAA Championships. More than 40 teams are expected to compete at the Armory which has added a twist by joining with the prestigious Millrose Games for some finals action on Friday evening.
“We knew that this was going to be great competition,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “That is why we came to New York, but on top of that, it is good to be able to take our team to a place where they can also see something that they don’t normally get to see. On the one hand they will have some fun, but on the other we are here to get a job done and that is to qualify as many people as we can for the NCAA Championships.”
Arkansas’ coaches are especially focused on the relay events where they could record NCAA automatic qualifiers in conjunction with its competition. Placing their best athletes on the track for both the 4×400 and distance medley relay, Arkansas hopes that the quartet of Paige Farrell, Tominque Boatright, Kasia Williams and Aneita Denton can carry the 4×4 to a qualifier while Farrell, Denton and Boatright return to action in the distance medley with senior Erica Sigmont.
Competition at the Armory begins at 9:00 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday and runs through 5 p.m. both days. Some of the competition that Arkansas is set to face include top-ranked Tennessee, second-ranked LSU, fifth-ranked Texas, seventh-ranked South Carolina and 15th-ranked Villanova.
“This weekend certainly gives us an idea of where we stack up as a team against some great competition,” Harter said. “Unfortunately for us, four of the top 10 teams in the country are in the SEC and another two are ranked in the top 25. This meet should give us an idea of how we will fare at the SEC Championships at the end of the month.”
Arkansas begins its competition with the weight throw and long jump on Friday at just after 9 a.m. and run throughout the day concluding at 4:25 with the distance medley relay. If seniors Williams and Beyonka McDowell and freshman Whitney Anderson are fortunate enough to make it through the heats, they will have the opportunity to compete at the Millrose Games in Madison Square Garden in the 60-meter hurdles at 9:51 p.m. Friday night.
For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.