Scored Meets Galore in the Pac-12 This Weekend
NEW ORLEANS – More than bragging rights will be on the line this weekend along the West Coast as four Pac-12 track & field programs will be hosting high-profile scored meets throughout the weekend.
The Oregon Pepsi Team Invitational and Arizona’s Jim Click Shootout will provide invitational-style competition between four or more teams, while triangular meets are on the schedule at UCLA with LSU and TCU; and at California with Michigan and Virginia.
Dual, triangular and scored meets are increasing in popularity and frequency, as noted by Jesse Squire of Track & Field News – a publication which has accordingly adopted a dual-meet ranking system to determine which teams would fare the best in these head-to-head team matchups. The publication released its outdoor preseason rankings in the April edition of its print magazine, which can be found here.
“I believe scored collegiate competitions are the best way to showcase our sport to the spectators,” UCLA head coach Mike Maynard told Track & Field News. Maynard’s Bruins will be hosting such a meet this weekend with the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational. “The meet has a story that can be told, and it doesn’t take all day and a weekend to complete.”
Saturday’s long-running Oregon Pepsi Team Invitational at Historic Heyward Field is perhaps the most high-profile of the aforementioned meets this weekend, with three of the top 15 women’s teams in the most recent USTFCCCA national team computer rankings – No. 2 Oregon, the four-time defending indoor champions, No. 3 Texas A&M and No. 15 Washington – and two of the top four on the men’s side with No. 1 Texas A&M and No. 4 Oregon. Pac-12 rival Washington State will also compete.
The Oregon women are the No. 1 team in Track & Field News’ dual meet rankings, while Texas A&M is No. 3. The Aggies are No. 2 on the men’s side, Oregon is No. 4 and Washington is No. 10. In other words, no matter how the teams are ranked, the competition is sure to be top-notch.
Arizona’s Jim Click Shootout, which has a two-day multi-event competition leading up to the invitational section of the meet on Saturday, is likewise stacked with high-caliber teams, particularly on the women’s side. With No. 5 (USTFCCCA)/8 (T&FN) Arizona, No. 6 Texas, No. 8/7 Arizona State and No. 9/4 Stanford duking it out on the track and in the field, this meet would have a marked impact on both sets of rankings following the weekend.
The men’s competition will feature No. 5/8 Texas, No. 18/3 Arizona State, No. 20 Kansas State, No. 21 Arizona and No. 24/9 Ohio State.
Maynard and UCLA will host LSU of the SEC and TCU of the Big 12 to Pac-12 Country for the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner Kersee Invitational on Saturday. The meet has shifted to a small triangular-style meet after having previously been a larger non-scored invitational. A tight battle is in store for both the men and the women, with LSU ranked No. 10 in the USTFCCCA men’s rankings to UCLA’s 12, while the LSU women are No. 7 and the Bruins 18.
The triangular between California, Michigan and Virginia is a first-year meet that the Cal track & field website describes as "a return to the past when scored team matches were much more common." The Michigan women are the top-ranked team entering the meet, coming in at No. 9 in the Track & Field News dual rankings.
For a full list of dual, triangular and quad scored meets that are scheduled for the remainder of the season, visit Jesse Squire’s Track & Field Superfan website here.