Weather Runs Away With McDonald’s Relays

It’s like clock work. The McDonald’s Relays are on the calendar and bad weather arrives just in time to hamper Fort Smith’s biggest track meet.

Athletes from 15 teams competed inside a cold and damp Jim Rowland Stadium Thursday afternoon. More than 30 teams were expected but the conditions kept 17 schools away.

“The last two or three years we haven`t caught a break on the weather in the McDonald`s relays,” Fort Smith athletics director Jim Rowland said. “This is our biggest meet of the year that we host and we have a lot of teams here, would have more if the weather was a little bit better but it is something you have to deal with and the only way to deal with it is be positive.”

Northside coach Billy Joe Releford expected a good showing from the Grizzlies but the temperatures negated that before the event began.

“You wait all year for the McDonald`s relays and we`ve got records that we`d like to get broken,” Releford said. “We`ve got good speed this year but the weather comes in then all the records that kind of subsides.”

The conditions didn’t slow down Bentonville’s Meg Conklin as she ran way with her hurdles heat.

“It`s really not easy,” Conklin said of competing in the weather. “First off we really didn`t get a good warmup and it`s cold outside and our muscles are stiff and the wind sets us back too especially when we are running over hurdles.”

Teams will compete in their respective conference meets next week.

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