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UA ready to host an outdoors meet

by Bob Holt | April 24, 2021 at 2:06 a.m.
Arkansas hosts the John McDonnell Invitational this weekend, its first track and field home meet in two years because of covid-19. “We have a beautiful facility,” Arkansas men’s Coach Chris Bucknam said, “and when it’s dressed up and ready for a track meet, there’s not many places like it.” (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)

FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas will host its first outdoor track and field meet in two years when several in-state teams and some SEC and Big 12 teams join the Razorbacks this weekend for the John McDonnell Invitational at the facility that bears the name of the legendary former UA men's coach.

Fans also will be allowed to attend the meet, which wasn't the case for indoor meets because of coronavirus safety protocols.

"The more the merrier," Arkansas women's Coach Lance Harter said. "It's nice to have fans celebrate our athletes, especially when good things happen.

"Obviously, indoors was pretty lonely except for your teammates. If we can have fans, even though it might be somewhat limited, we welcome everyone."

Field events begin at 2:30 p.m. today with running events at 5 p.m. On Sunday both field and running events begin at noon.

"We have a beautiful facility, and when it's dressed up and ready for a track meet, there's not many places like it," Arkansas men's Coach Chris Bucknam said. "It's certainly great to be at home. Hopefully we can get some good weather and perform at a high level."

In addition to Arkansas, schools competing at the meet include Alabama, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Arkansas State University, the University of Central Arkansas, Kansas, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts, Tulsa, Wichita State and Friends University.

"We're running out of competitions," Harter said. "We have this meet and then next week our sprint crew goes to LSU and distance crew to Fresno. We're still trying to get some good work done before we finalize our entries for the SEC meet."

Arkansas will host a meet May 7, then the SEC Championships will be May 13-15 in College Station, Texas.

"We hope to keep improving on our performance and improving the strength of our team," Bucknam said. "We don't take any of these meets lightly going forward for sure.

"We've got a lot of work to do. We're looking forward to getting out on our home track and making some forward progress toward the SEC Championships."

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John McDonnell Invitational

WHEN Today and Sunday. Field events begin at 2:30 p.m. today with running events at 5 p.m. Field and running events on Sunday begin at noon.

WHERE John McDonnell Field, Fayetteville

TICKETS $5 for adults and free entry for those 17 and under. Fans will be allowed to sit in the east side grandstands with socially distanced seating options. Masks are required. Entry to McDonnell Field will be through the east gate with parking available in lots 60, 56B, 47N and 47W.

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