Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Robert Black)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - The No. 4 University of Arkansas women's track and field team welcomes a field of more than 40 colleges and universities this weekend at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville. The two-day meet will be contested Feb. 8-9 at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The Razorbacks will be one of 11 women's teams ranked in this week's national poll.
Friday's schedule will be split into an afternoon and evening session with start times of noon (CT) and 6 p.m., respectively. On Saturday, field events begin at 11 a.m. while running events are slated for a 1 p.m. start. General admission tickets for home meets are $5. Fans 17 years and younger are admitted free and University of Arkansas students get in free with their valid student ID. Doors at the Randal Tyson Track Center open one hour prior to the start of competition.
"We'll split our forces this week, in the respect of taking three of our distance runners to the University of Washington," head coach Lance Harter said. "The rest of the team will be (in Fayetteville) running in their primary events. It's a meet that won't have as many professionals as in the past but will have some great collegiate performances. If you're a sprinter or jumper, (Fayetteville) is the place to be. If you're a distance runner, it's off to Seattle."
The women's competition at the Tyson Invitational will feature 11 teams ranked in the most recent release of the USTFCCCA Top 25. Including the fourth-ranked Razorbacks, that list includes top-ranked Kansas, No. 3 LSU, No. 5 Oregon, No. 9 UCF, No. 14 Texas, No. 18 Indiana State, No. 19 Baylor, No. 20 South Carolina, No. 21 Florida State, No. 25 Auburn. Conference members Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee will also compete in Fayetteville this weekend.
The Tyson Invitational will showcase a total of 29 men's and women's top-three NCAA performers from last year. That list includes Razorback senior Regina George who was the national indoor runner-up at 400 meters. Individually, eight-three men, five women-NCAA champions from the 2012 season will compete. This weekend's sprint events will feature defending national champions Diamond Dixon of Kansas, Kimberlyn Duncan of LSU and English Gardner of Oregon. The field events will also feature NCAA champions Tia Brooks of Oklahoma and Andrea Geubelle of Kansas.
With a majority of the team in Fayetteville, the Razorbacks will send three distance runners to Seattle, Wash., to compete in the Husky Classic. Diane Robison, Dominique Scott and Semehar Tesfaye will compete Friday in their first 5,000-meter race of the season.
Through the first four meets of the season, Arkansas has two NCAA-leading performers in George at 400 meters and Makeba Alcide in the pentathlon. George has a season-best time of 52.26 at 400 meters while Alcide scored a school-record 4,464 points in the pentathlon at the Razorback Team Invitational. The team also has SEC-best marks from Alcide in the high jump, Grace Heymsfield in the mile and its distance-medley relay.
Alcide was placed on the first regular-season watch list for The Bowerman, as released Thursday by the USTFCCCA. The Razorback senior is one of four making their first career appearance on the award watch list. She is one of two SEC athletes on the list, along with Duncan who on the award in 2012. Former Arkansas standout Tina Sutej-scheduled to compete this weekend-was a Bowerman finalist in 2011.
Fans can also follow this weekend's Tyson Invitational with live results from Flash Results and Arkansas' interactive blog and RazorVision video stream. The meet will be identified on Twitter with the hash tag of #TysonInv.