Premier Relays meet highlights loaded 2018 slate

PHOTO BY RAZORBACK SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS

FAYETTEVILLE — Dubbed the John McDonnell Program of the Year last season, Arkansas looks to follow up their solid 2017 outing with an exceptional 2018 campaign set to tackle a loaded schedule, featuring eight home competitions.

Among those eight Fayetteville-based meets, the Razorbacks plan to introduce a new event, the National Relay Championships, scheduled for April 27-28 at John McDonnell Field.

“We are really excited about our home schedule this season,” coach Chris Bucknam said. “We think we have the two best regular season meets in the country in 2018 right here in Fayetteville.”

“We have added a new meet to our outdoor schedule this year that we think will be a game-changer for the presentation of college track and field. The National Relay Championships bring together national contending teams from all five power conferences for a team-scored relays competition.

“We are thankful for all the coaches who are bringing their teams to Arkansas. We are planning a condensed two hour relays only format on Saturday that will be the most exciting, fan friendly college track meet ever.”

National Relay Championships

With 16 of the most-respected track and field programs from around the country journeying to Northwest Arkansas for the newly minted relays meet, the National Relay Championships is set to become the premier collegiate relay competition in the nation.

Modeled after the flourishing, biennial IAAF World Relays, the National Relay Championships aims to invoke a spirited rivalry among the most competitive and historical college programs in track and field in advance of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Power Five Teams (16):

SEC (4): Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee,
ACC (3): Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech
Big 10 (3): Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin
Big 12 (5): Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas
PAC 12 (1): Stanford

National Relay Championships Teams Success by the Numbers

• 116 NCAA Relay Titles
• At least one NCAA relay champion every year since 1994

2017 Men’s NCAA Relay Finalists

Indoor

• DMR: Virginia Tech (2nd), Oklahoma State (6th), Arkansas (7th), Stanford (12th)
• 4-x-400: Florida (2nd), Arkansas (3rd), Texas (7th), Kansas (11th)

Outdoor

• 4-x-100: Texas (5th), Arkansas (7th)
• 4-x-400: Arkansas (2nd), Florida (4th)

2017 Women’s NCAA Relay Finalists

Indoor

• DMR: Stanford (2nd), Michigan (5th), Kansas (7th), Arkansas (11th)
• 4-x-400: Baylor (5th), Miami (7th), Florida (8th), Arkansas (11th)

Outdoor

• 4-x-100: Kentucky (1st), Florida (3rd), Arkansas (6th)
• 4-x-400: Texas (5th), Florida (6th), Miami (7th)

Tyson Center Showdowns

Prior to the inaugural National Relay Championships, Arkansas will open its season at the Randal Tyson Track Center, hosting the Arkansas Invitational Friday, Jan. 12.

The Arkansas Invitational will be followed by the highly anticipated Razorback Invitational (Jan. 26-27).

The Razorback Invitational will feature some of the same programs as the National Relay Championships with the addition of Iowa State, Kansas State, LSU, Ole Miss, Southern California and Texas A&M.

The Razorbacks will wrap up their indoor stead at home with the enduringly competitive Tyson Invitational (Feb. 9-10) and the Arkansas Qualifier (Feb. 16).

“For the last few years, the Razorback Invitational has brought in the top contending teams and individuals and that will be the case once again this year,” Bucknam said. “In January, we will welcome schools from the SEC, Big12, Pac12 and ACC for the best team scored meet in the nation during the indoor season.”

“The Tyson Invitational once again will feature some of the best sprint and field event individuals at the ‘Fastest Track in the World.’ Year in and year out, that meet produces as many national qualifying marks as any other meet in the country.”

Line Up at John McDonnell

Bucknam’s squad will kick off their outdoor campaign at John McDonnell Field, hosting the Arkansas Spring Invitational March 23-24.

The Spring Invite will be the first of four outdoor competitions at home, which includes the aforementioned National Relay Championships (April 27-28).

In addition to those meets, Arkansas’ outdoor home slate will also feature the John McDonnell Invitational (April 13-14) and the Arkansas Twilight (May 4).

Razorbacks on the Road

Although the hosts of several home bouts the Razorbacks will still find time for some road challenges this upcoming season set to make stops in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Seattle, Washington and Winston Salem, North Carolina for a trio of indoor meets.

Arkansas will travel north for the Michigan Invitational Jan. 19-20, head out west for the distance dominated Husky Classic Feb. 9-10 and wrap up the regular season on the east coast at the UCS Invitational Feb. 16.

The outdoor season will see the Hogs hit the road, contesting a slew of competitions across the country including the Texas Relays (March 29-31), Stanford Invitational (March 30-31), Bryan Clay Invitational (April 19-21), Mt. SAC Invitational (April 19-21) and Michael Johnson Invitational (April 19-21).

Championships Season

The defending Southeastern Conference indoor champions will look to retain their title at the league meet Feb. 24-25 in College Station, Texas.

Arkansas will then focus its attention on adding to its NCAA trophy collection, returning to College Station March 9-10 for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Always in pursuit of a Triple Crown, Arkansas will open the outdoor championships season in the hunt for their 20th SEC outdoor title May 11-13 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Following a stop at the NCAA West Preliminary Round (May 24-26) in Sacramento, California, Bucknam’s squad will close out the year going for more team gold at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

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