FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 14 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team will open its outdoor season with a pair of competitions this weekend. The Razorbacks will participate in a tri-meet Friday evening with No. 17 Texas and No. 24 UCLA at Mike A. Myers Track Stadium in Austin. The team will also have representation at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif.
"We’re excited to be outside now," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "The weather has been good and we’re making a nice transition into our outdoor season. We’re looking forward to getting back on the track this weekend with a triangular meet down in Austin. A majority of the team will be there but I’m also taking some athletes to Stanford this weekend for a 10,000-meter run."
The three-team competition will be scored on a 7-5-4-3-2-1 points system with each team limited to two scorers per event. Events in Austin are set to begin Friday at 1 p.m. (CT) with the hammer throw. Running events will begin at 4 p.m. with the 3,000 meters and conclude with the running of the 4×400-meter relay at 6:45 p.m. This will mark the second consecutive season for the scored meet in Austin and the first with UCLA involved.
"It’s good to have this meet right off the bat," Bucknam said. "It’s going to be a nice Friday night meet under the lights. By having a team score with Texas and UCLA, it gives us a little more incentive to get on the track and ramp things back up again."
Looking to post times that would qualify for the national preliminary round, Eric Fernandez, Solomon Haile and Layne Nixon are scheduled to run 10,000 meters at the Stanford meet. The first of two men’s races is set for Friday with a start time of 11:36 p.m. Fernandez and Haile have the third- and eighth-fastest returning times in the nation over the 10,000-meter distance.
In the release of the USTFCCCA preseason poll, the Razorbacks are one of nine teams from the Southeastern Conference, the highest total by one conference in the preseason rankings. Arkansas joins top-ranked Florida, No. 5 LSU, No. 8 Mississippi State, No. 13 Ole Miss, No. 18 Auburn, No. 20 South Carolina, No. 22 Alabama and No. 23 Georgia. The SEC is the top-rated league in the conference index, ahead of the Big 12 and Pac-10, respectively.
There are no automatic qualifying standards for the outdoor season. The top 48 declared student-athletes will get into individual events per region, while the top 24 relays declared per region will also qualify. The national performance list is updated weekly at http://www.tfrrs.com. Arkansas will participate in the NCAA West Prelims, May 26-28 in Eugene, Ore.
After this weekend, the Razorbacks return to their home track for the first of three home meets during the outdoor season. The team will host the Razorback Spring Invitational on April 2 at John McDonnell Field. The collegiate outdoor season will culminate June 8-11 with the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. For more home meet information, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: Stanford Invitational schedule.pdf