Tyson Invitational showcases top collegiate talent, Olympic and World medalists

FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 3 Razorbacks host a field 20 teams in the Tyson Invitational this Friday and Saturday at the Randal Tyson Track Center, which include current No. 1 Florida and No. 4 LSU along with four other schools in the top 25.

Also entered are a group of professional athletes who have claimed Olympic and World Championship medals.

Masks are REQUIRED upon entry for ages 12+ as well as inside indoor areas where six feet of social distancing is not possible. Additional fan information is available here: Fan Information at Randal Tyson Track Center

The first 100 students and kids each day of the meet will receive a Razorback track and field arm sleeve. Tickets are $5 for adults, and only available at the ticket office, while kids 18 and younger are free.

A live stream is available through SEC Network + on Friday (3:55 pm): es.pn/3oB8qjv and Saturday (12:45 pm): es.pn/3B6ZOGk. Live results are also available: https://results.flashresults.com/2022_02-11_TysonInvite/index.htm

Additional ranked schools competing in the Tyson Invitational include No. 8 North Carolina State, No. 11 Ole Miss, No. 18 Tennessee, and No. 22 Nebraska.

The rest of the field includes Academy of Art, Alabama, Arizona State, Barton County CC, Drake, Duke, Florida State, Iowa, Kansas State, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma City, and Princeton.

“We’re at the point in our schedule, and training as well, where we need to knock out as optimal performances as possible across the board, because our next major competition is going to be the SEC meet,” said Arkansas women’s head coach Lance Harter.

“This weekend is very much a keynote for our schedule. That’s why the distance crew will be out in Seattle, Washington, to match up with many of their national and conference peers. If you want to sprint or jump, Tyson is optimal for that as well. We need to get some things done this weekend.”

The Tyson Invitational will feature the top two collegiate 60m hurdlers this season in Florida’s Grace Stark and LSU’s Alia Armstrong, who both have produced a time of 7.86, which ranks third among collegians all-time. The hurdle field also includes Charisma Taylor of Tennessee (8.02), LSU’s Leah Phillips (8.06), and the Razorback trio of Jayla Hollis, Yoveinny Mota and Daszay Freeman.

Defending NCAA Indoor and Outdoor pole vault champion Lisa Gunnarsson of LSU headlines a field of 17 pole vaulters. The Arkansas vault crew, who missed a competition last weekend in New Mexico due to weather delays, will include Nastassja Campbell, who defeated Gunnarsson for the 2021 SEC Outdoor title.

Gunnarsson opened her season last weekend at LSU, clearing a collegiate-leading height of 14-9.5 to take over the lead from Campbell, who has a best of 14-7.25 this year. Another pair of vaulters over 14 feet this season includes Razorback Elien Vekemans (14-3.25) and Arkansas redshirt Amanda Fassold (14-2.5).

Matchups in the sprints will include Razorback Jada Baylark (7.21) facing Favour Ofili of LSU (7.17) in the 60m while Hollis (23.16) races against Ofili (22.71) and Florida’s Talitha Diggs (22.91) in the 200m.

“The Tyson Invitational will provide a preview of a lot of the firepower in ballistic events on the women’s side,” noted Harter. “We’ll see a lot of conference foes this weekend and it will provide head-on-head competition as well as a preview of what we can see in a couple of weeks.”

The long jump Invitational field features Arkansas alum Taliyah Brooks along with Sydney Conley, Tara Davis and Sha’Keela Saunders. Davis claimed both NCAA long jump titles in 2021, setting collegiate records indoors and outdoors, prior to placing sixth in the Tokyo Olympics. Saunders, a NCAA champion in 2017, was a finalist in the 2019 World Championships.

Three collegians in the Invitational long jump who have surpassed 21 feet this season include Florida’s tandem of Jasmine Moore (21-7.25) and Claire Bryant (21-6.75) along with Taishia Pryce of Kansas State (21-5.5). Moore broke the collegiate record in the triple jump this season with a leap of 47-9.

Featured among professional entries in the 400m are Jamaica’s Stephanie Ann McPherson, who placed fourth in Tokyo and collected a gold medal in the 4×400 during the 2016 Rio Olympics, and Arkansas volunteer assistant Shamier Little, a silver medalist in the 400m hurdles at the 2015 World Championships who set an indoor career best of 50.57 at 400m last season.

Over 60m, the professional field includes Jamaica’s tandem of Shericka Jackson and Natasha Morrison. Jackson was a member of Jamaica’s gold medal 4×100 relay in Tokyo while Morrison ran on a gold medal squad in the 2015 World Championships.

The 60m hurdles includes Christina Clemons, 2018 World Indoor silver medalist, and Cindy Sember, the 2021 European Indoor silver medalist who placed fourth in the 100m hurdles at the 2016 Olympics.

Razorbacks racing in Washington this weekend at the Husky Classic include Krissy Gear, Lauren Gregory, Logan Jolly, Heidi Nielson, Quinn Owen, Julia Paternain, Carmie Prinsloo, Kennedy Thomson, Sydney Thorvaldson, and Isabel Van Camp. They are all scheduled to compete in the mile and then split up among the 3,000m (Gregory, Jolly, Van Camp) and 5,000m (Nielson, Paternain, Thorvaldson).

USTFCCCA National Team Rating Index

Women (Bold teams at Tyson Inv): 1. Florida, 2. Texas, 3. Arkansas, 4. LSU, 5. Kentucky, 6. Texas A&M, 7. Texas Tech, 8. NC State, 9. BYU, 10. Virginia Tech, 11. Ole Miss, 12. Oklahoma State, 13. Oregon, 14. Ohio State, 15. Washington, 16. Notre Dame, 17. Binghamton, 18. Tennessee, 19. Baylor, 20. New Mexico, 21. Colorado State, 22. Nebraska, 23. South Carolina, 24. Georgia, 25. Penn State.