'American Track League' Makes Stop at UVa

By: Nate Sulham Email
By: Nate Sulham Email

Some of the biggest names in track and field will be at Lannigan Field Friday night for the second meet in the inaugural season of the American Track League.

U.S. Olympians Lolo Jones and Queen Harrison are two of the stars competing at the meet, which will feature 10 events. Jones and Harrison will square off in the 100-meter hurdles.

The American Track League is in its first season, providing fans in the U.S. an opportunity to see their favorite athletes up close and personal.

"The number one question I get is 'When can I see you run in the U.S.? When and where is your next track race?'" Jones said Thursday afternoon. "And unfortunately there's not a lot of track races in the U.S. So starting this circuit is an opportunity for our fans to finally see us in the four year gaps in between the Olympics, so it's really cool."

For Harrison, it's a homecoming of sorts. The Richmond native attended rival Virginia Tech, where she was a three-time National Champion.

Harrison is expecting a large crowd of supporters to make the trip to UVa to cheer her on Friday night.

"It's really great competition so I'm just looking forward to putting on a show and having a good time," Harrison said. "I know I'll run fast - that will come - but I just want to have a really good time around people that know me, and I know them, and just put on a show for the people."

The American Track League promises a track and field meet unlike anything fans have seen before. There will be a live band playing in between events, and fans will be able to get up close to the athletes and interact with them.

"Over in Europe (meets) are in these huge stadiums where people don't really have a lot of interaction with you. They may see you and get your autograph on the way out but at this event, they're able to come, take pictures. Everyone wants to get a selfie with you so they can post it on their social network," Harrison laughed. "So I'm looking forward to interacting with the fans and let them know we appreciate them the same way they appreciate us."

"You know at the Olympics you may not ever be able to get down on the infield but these fans -- we're very flexible," Jones added. "It's a very different environment from a regular track meet where they stay in the stands and they can't really interact with us. It's very different."

The event is part of a full weekend at Lannigan. The Cavaliers track and field team is also hosting the annual Virginia Challenge, its largest meet of the season.

The meet will feature collegiate athletes from top programs in the ACC and around the nation, including BYU, Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and the host Cavaliers.

The American Track League event runs Friday night from 8-10 p.m.

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