BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 2 Arkansas competes against No. 1 LSU in the LSU Invitational on Saturday, May 1, inside Bernie Moore Stadium for the first meeting between the two programs since the Texas Relays in late March.
“With LSU ranked No. 1 on the women’s side we want to go in there and see what they look like in person,” said Arkansas women’s associate head coach Chris Johnson. “The last time we’ve seen them was during the Texas Relays, so now we get an opportunity to look that them again and see where we can make some improvements as we try to contend with them on a conference level and national level as well.”
Teams scheduled to compete in the Invitational also include No. 6 Alabama, Alabama State, No. 10 Florida, Memphis, New Orleans, Ole Miss, Tulane, and Xavier (La.). Field events begin at 9:30 a.m. while running events start at noon and wrap up at 4 pm.
Currently there are seven SEC schools among the top 11 in the USTFCCCA national rating index with the SEC Championships approaching on May 13-15. Other SEC women’s programs among the top 11 include No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 7 Georgia, and No. 11 Auburn.
LSU athletic venues will be open to full capacity this weekend and admission to the track and field meet is free. Live results will be available at deltatiming.com (http://results.deltatiming.com/lsu/tf/2021-lsu-invitational), but no live stream will be available. Updates throughout the meet are available on Razorback social media.
In the events that Arkansas will compete in this weekend, SEC schools currently have the best collegiate mark this season in eight of the nine events, while also populating the top 10 marks in those events.
Among the SEC schools in the LSU Invitational, current collegiate leaders include Alabama’s Tamra Clark in the 100m (10.96), LSU’s Favour Ofili in the 200m (22.30w), Tonea Marshall of LSU in the 100m hurdles (12.53w), LSU’s 4×100 (42.70, equals world leader), Arkansas’ 4×400 (3:26.63, world leader), and Razorback Nastassja Campbell in the pole vault (14-9 ½).
“From the sprint side of things, we just want to get another good run in and, obviously, run faster in the 4×100,” noted Johnson. “Our 4×400 relay has taken care of business. We also want to improve on times in the 200. Other than that, we ‘re just wanting to get sharp for the conference meet.”
Jada Baylark races in the 100 and 200, and will be joined in the 200 by Jayla Hollis, Yoveinny Mota and G’Auna Edwards. In the 400, Arkansas will have Tiana Wilson and Morgan Burks-Magee while the 800 includes Shafiqua Maloney, Paris Peoples, and Josie Carson. The 100 hurdles will have Daszay Freeman along with Mota and Hollis.
Joining the Razorback sprinters and middle-distance runners at the LSU Invitational will be Edwards in the high jump along with five pole vaulters –Campbell, Lauren Martinez, Bailee McCorkle, Mackenzie Hayward, and Kaitlyn Banas.
In addition, a crew of post-collegians training with Coach Johnson are scheduled to compete as well. The group includes Taliyah Brooks, Payton Chadwick, Shamier Little, Sparkle McKnight, and Kiara Parker.
West Coast Relays
Arkansas’ distance group competes on Friday, April 30, in Clovis, California, along with a crew of 24 schools in the West Coast Relays hosted by Fresno State.
In addition to the Razorbacks, other schools competing include Air Force, BYU, Boise State, California Baptist, Cal Poly, Colorado, Colorado State, Missouri, New Mexico, NC State, Northern Arizona, Oklahoma State, Utah, Utah State, and Washington.
“This started out as an idea of five or six distance programs getting together and resurrecting the West Coast Relays, which was a phenomenal meet,” said Arkansas head coach Lance Harter. “Then a few days ago I was told there are over 20 teams coming.
“The goal is to run fast as we look to improve marks for seeding in the SEC Championships, but also for qualifying in the NCAA regional meet.”
Racing starts at 10:10 a.m. (CT) for the debut in the 10,000m for Corie Smith and Adoette Vaughan. The rest of the distance races involving Razorbacks start at 9:35 p.m. (CT) with the 1,500m and continues until 12:45 a.m. (CT) with the Invitational 5,000m.
Events and entries for the Razorbacks, times listed as CT:
|10,000: (10:10 a.m.) Corie Smith, Adeotte Vaughan|
|1,500: (9:35 p.m.) Heat 3 – Quinn Owen, Maddy Reed, Meghan Underwood|
|1,500 Invitational: (10:40 p.m.) Krissy Gear, Isabel Van Camp, Carina Viljoen|
|Steeple Invitational: (12:05 a.m.) Gracie Hyde|
|800 Invitational: (12:20 a.m.) Kennedy Thomson|
|5,000 Invitational: (12:45 a.m.) Devin Clark, Abby Gray, Lauren Gregory, Katie Izzo, Logan Morris|
World Athletics Relays
This weekend the World Athletics Relays will be held May 1-2 in Poland. The current 2021 world-leading times announced during the meet and appearing on start lists will include the 3:26.63 winning performance by Arkansas during the Texas Relays back in March.
“Obviously, it’s great for the kids and great for our program,” stated Johnson. “Having it mentioned during the World Relays this weekend is a phenomenal achievement for our ladies.
“The relay is a byproduct of the athletes that you have on the team, putting them together and enabling them run as close to their PR from a split standpoint.”
The Razorback foursome that claimed the Texas Relays title with the third fastest time in UA history included Paris Peoples, Kethlin Campbell, Morgan Burks-Magee and Shafiqua Maloney. They bettered Texas (3:28.10) and LSU (3:32.28) by a comfortable margin as baton passing hampered the challengers on that day.
Over the past month, Arkansas’ world-leading time has been challenged but not bettered. Texas A&M ran 3:26.73 at a home meet while a professional foursome, Empire Athletics, posted a 3:26.76 in Florida two weeks ago.
In the 4×100, LSU’s 4×100 relay performance of 42.70 from last weekend shares the world lead with a professional group, Star Athletics, from earlier in April.