FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas men’s and women’s track and field are sending their distance runners West this weekend to compete at the Husky Invitational in Seattle, but the sprints and field events will be loaded at the Tyson Invitational today and Saturday at the UA’s Randal Tyson Center.
Among the more than 30 teams competing at the Tyson invitational along with Arkansas include Florida, Florida State, LSU, USC, Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.
“If you’re a fan of speed, the Tyson Invitational is it,” Lance Harter, coach of Arkansas’ No. 1-ranked women’s team, said of the sprints events.
“The best of the best as far as the women’s side goes is just absolutely extreme.
“You will see basically a preview of the NCAA meet. It’s going to be absolutely extraordinary.”
Arkansas’ women will be led by sprinters Kiara Parker, Payton Chadwick, Jada Baylark and Morgan Burks-Magee in events tonight and Saturday.
At Texas A&M’s Charlie Thomas Invitational last weekend, Parker won the 60 and 200 meters, Burks-Magee won the 400 and Chadwick was second in the 200 and Baylark was third in the 60.
“At Texas A&M, our sprinters were very, very dominant,” Harter said.
“Hopefully, they won’t be a little tired after that first road trip, but they are at home and it will be an opportunity to run fast.”
Senior pole vaulters Lexi Jacobus and Tori Hoggard will lead Arkansas in the field events on Saturday. The women’s invitational pole vault starts at 3 p.m.
Chris Bucknam, coach of Arkansas’ No. 22-ranked men’s team, said the Tyson Invitational field is the best yet assembled nationally in the indoor season after the Razorback Invitational two weeks ago held that distinction.
“We’re really proud of the Razorback Invitational, too,” Bucknam said.
“Clearly it was the best meet in the country two weeks ago, and now for the second time in two weeks, we have the best meet in the country again.
“Now it gets ramped up. The kids are in better shape. They’ve had some meets under their belt.
“It’s a phenomenal track meet, and just what the doctor ordered for us to get in there and mix it up.”
Among Arkansas’ sprinters to watch tonight are Shakiel Chatoo and Tre’Bien Gilber in the 60-meter hurdles and Josh Oglesby in the 60.
Laquan Narin will triple jump for Arkansas on Saturday in what should be among the Razorbacks’ highlights in the field events.
The Razorbacks are sending their men’s and women’s runners to compete in Seattle because Washington has an oversized track that produces faster times for national qualifying marks.
“You want to get a ticket to go to the national meet in the mile and 3,000 for men and women, you’ve got to go to Husky,” Harter said.
“So the distance events will be down at Tyson to what people are used to seeing, but the sprints definitely will make up for it.”