Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Wesley Hitt)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - The No. 1 University of Arkansas men's track and field team returns to its home facility this weekend to host the 11-team Razorback Team Invitational.
The two-day competition featuring six ranked teams will be held Jan. 25-26 at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. Friday's schedule begins at 1 p.m. (CT) for the multi-event competitions, 4 p.m. for the field events and 6 p.m. for the running events.
General admission tickets for home meets are $5, while fans 17 years and younger are admitted free and University of Arkansas students get in free with their valid student ID. The first 500 fans in attendance Saturday will receive a pair of Razorback sunglasses courtesy of Pepsi. Doors at the Randal Tyson Track Center open one hour to the start of competition.
"We have some great teams coming in this weekend," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "It's going to be an outstanding meet. Looking at the entries, we should see many national-caliber performances this weekend. It's an early mini national meet, in my opinion. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Along with the top-ranked Razorbacks, the field of competition at the two-day meet will also include No. 3 Florida, No. 6 LSU, No. 11 Texas, No. 13 Arizona, No. 21 Florida State, Baylor, Georgia, Nebraska and Oklahoma, Oklahoma State. Individually, the invitational meet will feature three NCAA indoor champions-Omar Craddock, Florida (triple jump); Andrew Irwin, Arkansas (pole vault) and Lawi Lalang, Arizona (3,000m/5,000m)-and two national runner-up athletes.
With the Jan. 22 release of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) top-25 rankings, Arkansas maintains its top spot in the national poll. The Razorbacks lead a sweep of the top-three spots occupied by Southeastern Conference teams. Overall, the conference has seven ranked teams including five inside the top 10.
Last weekend, the Razorbacks collected five event wins, four personal bests and a meet record on their way to a second-place finish at the Texas A&M Triangular. During the tri-meet competition, Arkansas picked up wins from Tarik Batchelor in the triple jump, Caleb Cross in the 60-meter hurdles, Kevin Lazas in the pole vault, Tomas Squella at 800 meters and Cale Wallace at 3,000 meters. For his showing, Wallace was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for the second time in as many weeks.
Two weeks into their 2013 campaign, the Razorbacks have three SEC leaders in Squella at 800 meters, Wallace in the mile and Raymond Higgs in the long jump. Higgs also leads all NCAA performers with his mark of 7.95m/26-1 at the season-opening Arkansas-Texas Dual.
Fans can follow along this weekend with live results via Flash Results, an interactive blog and RazorVision video stream. Updates of the Razorback Team Invitational through Twitter will use the hash tag of #RazInv.