NORMAN — The week of spring break at the University of Oklahoma doesn’t just signal the arrival of warmer weather and the beginning of the second half of the academic semester. It also signals that it’s time to begin the outdoor track and field season.
Like they have every year dating back to the 2014 season, OU will start the outdoor season at the Baldy Castillo Invitational hosted by Arizona State. In last year’s contest, the women finished third overall with 104 points and the men were fifth with 59 points.
Taking advantage of the opportunity the timing of spring break provided, the Sooners traveled to Tempe, Ariz., in advance of this Friday and Saturday’s invitational, to prepare for the meet itself, as well as continuing to train for the season ahead.
“We always enjoy our trip to Tempe,” says head coach Jim VanHootegem. “We get a chance to have the team together to get quality practices, some relaxation and a strong competition.
“Although they have championships, cross country and indoors are intended as preparation for outdoor track and field. We are at the heart of what we have been training for since last summer.”
With the start of the outdoor season also come new events to the meet schedule and a chance for the outdoor event student-athletes to join their Sooner teammates in meet competition.
“The first thing we are excited about is that we now have our entire team competing and the full Olympic event schedule,” adds VanHootegem. “I love seeing the discus, javelin and hammer flying, seeing a full lap of hurdles and the always exciting 4x100 relay.”
The Tempe meet is the first of eight that will run through mid June. OU will travel to both coasts and will host the annual John Jacobs meet April 21-22. The Big 12 is scheduled for May 12-14 in Lawrence and the starting step to June's NCAA Championship, the NCAA West Prelim, is set for May 25-27 in Austin. The NCAA meet will again be hosted in Eugene by Oregon June 8-11.
Men’s hammer will be the first event of the meet Friday, scheduled to start at 3:40 p.m. CT. There will be a break in the meet until 7:30 p.m., when the men’s pole vault will get underway. The running events won’t begin until later in the evening at 9 p.m. with the men’s 200-meter dash. The last event of day 1 will be the women’s 1500-meter run, taking place at 10:45 p.m.
Day 2 is slated to start at 12:30 p.m. with the men’s discus. On the track, competition will resume at 4 p.m. with the men’s 110-meter high hurdles. The meet will conclude with the women’s 4x400-meter relay at 7:10 p.m.
Joining OU in Tempe will be Texas A&M, Kentucky, Iowa, Utah, Air Force, Ohio State, Minnesota, North Dakota State, South Dakota and Arizona State.
Live results will be available, as well as a free live stream on Saturday from 4-7:15 p.m. Updates will also be provided through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (OU_Track). A recap will be provided at the conclusion of each day on Soonersports.com.