Pre-National Invitational prepares Arkansas for postseason
No. 11 Arkansas will be one of 10 nationally ranked teams among a field of 34 schools in a 6,000m race at the Pre-National Invitational hosted by Florida State at 7:35 a.m. (CT) on Friday morning on the Apalachee Regional Park course.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to go and have a national meet this year in a warm weather environment,” said Razorback women’s head coach Lance Harter. “The athletes and officials are going to be super excited about the opportunity to avoid snow, sleet, cold or rain.
“It’ll be a great opportunity for our team to preview a great course and we’re super excited about going to Tallahassee.”
The meet serves as a preview of the course that will host the NCAA Championships on November 20. Nationally ranked teams in the women’s field also include 5. Colorado, 10. Utah, 12. North Carolina, 14. Mississippi, 15. Florida State, 16. Northern Arizona, 24. Georgetown, 27. Kentucky, and 28. Toledo.
There is a $5 charge for spectators, which can be pre-paid at the FSU On-Line Ticket website: Pre-National Inv. Tickets
Having a ticket scanned at the gate from your phone will offer a quicker entry to the course. Tickets will also be sold at the gate. The same service will be used for the NCAA Championships.
In addition to seeing the NCAA course and facing some of the top teams in the nation, the Razorbacks will also race against conference schools prior to the SEC Championships, which will be held on Oct. 29. Other SEC schools in the Pre-National Invitational race include Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt.
“We’re going to see 11 of the top 30 teams in the nation there, so competition will be very keen, including some of our Southeastern Conference foes,” noted Harter. “With Utah running so well at Oregon last month it will be interesting gauge to see how we match up with them. This will be the first time we’ll actually have our top eight in the same race.
“We can see how good the SEC is going to be. We’re definitely going to have our hands full at the SEC Championships. This will serve, somewhat, as a measuring stick to see where we are and where we’re going.”
With teams limited to eight runners in the primary race, an open race will follow at 8:45 a.m. (CT) for additional members of the Arkansas team to compete.
“We’ll run 12 athletes, with eight in the main race and the rest will be in the open race,” noted Harter. “This is the final racing opportunity before the challenge of the SEC Championship.
“It’s a relatively mild course compared to some of the other national championship course we’ve run on recently. It’s a very fair course and has great opportunities for passing. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to see what the course is all about, and also fine tune our team for the conference and national championships.”