UW Health Sports Medicine 

Tyson Invitational highlights busy weekend for Badgers

<b>Reed Connor and UW distance runners will face competitive fields in Arkansas this weekend</b>

Reed Connor and UW distance runners will face competitive fields in Arkansas this weekend

Feb. 9, 2012

The No. 17 men's track and field team divides up and remains on the road one last weekend before Big Ten competition, dividing between three different meets.

Divided up by event, the Badgers' sprinters head to Ames, Iowa, while the throws and pole vault groups head to Platteville, Wis., and the distance runners journey to Fayetteville, Ark.

Hosted by No. 1-ranked Arkansas, the Tyson Invitational will take place Friday and Saturday at the Tyson Track Center.

The Razorbacks will welcome in a loaded field featuring 10 of the nation's top men's teams: No. 1 Arkansas, No. 3 LSU, No. 11 Oklahoma, No. 13 Nebraska, No. 16 Kansas State, No. 17 Wisconsin, No. 19 Ole Miss, No. 20 Iowa, No. 22 Georgia and No. 23 Auburn.

Competition is set to begin Friday at noon with the field events followed by track events beginning at 1 p.m. The meet continues Saturday with field events resuming at 10 a.m. and track events at 10:30 a.m.

Senior Ryan Collins will compete in a championship section of the 5000 meters, in which he will go up against a handful of Arkansas runners, including Solomon Haile. A junior, Haile was an All-American last year but will compete unattached this weekend. The championship section of the 5000 meters is scheduled to take place Friday at 6:35 p.m.

Collins is also scheduled to take part in a championship section of the 3000 meters, along with teammates Maverick Darling, Reed Connor and Alex Brill.

The quartet will compete against familiar faces in Oklahoma State runners Colby Lowe and German Fernandez.

It was just a few months ago that Collins, Connor and Darling competed against Lowe and Fernandez in the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championship. Lowe and Fernandez would have the better individual performances, finishing seventh and eighth overall, but the Badgers finished better collectively and went on to win the team championship ahead of the Cowboys.

UW freshman Austin Mudd will go up against an impressive field of his own in an Olympic Development section of the 800 meters. The field includes a trio of Razorbacks as well as a notable runner Jacob Hernandez. Competing collegiately at Texas, Hernandez was a two-time NCAA champion, four-time All-American and five-time Big 12 champion. The event is scheduled to begin Saturday at 2:40 p.m.

A championship section of the mile is also scheduled, with Badgers Alex Hatz, Zach Mellon and Rob Finnerty competing. Hatz and Mellon last competed in the mile at the Wisconsin Invitational with both laying down personal-best performances. Hatz went on to win the event in 4 minutes, 3.58 seconds, with Mellon just behind in second with a time of 4:05.18. The championship mile is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday.

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