The AAU District Qualifying Meet — also serving as the Arkansas State AAU Track and Field Championships — will be held at Central Arkansas Christian’s Mustang Mountain on Saturday.

Willie Morris, Arkansas AAU athletics (track and field and cross country) sports director, said athletes from North Little Rock, Maumelle, Sherwood and Jacksonville would be among the field.

"We have 690-some kids registered this year; last year we had about 660-something, so we’re up," Morris said Monday. "I’ve been getting calls from some unattached athletes, so it might have gone over 700 by now."

He said there were 11 registered teams in Arkansas along with a significant number of unattached athletes. Club teams come from Little Rock, North Little Rock, Searcy, Texarkana, Pine Bluff and Jacksonville, among others.

"The northwest Arkansas area has been real active the last few years, but most of their kids are running unattached," he said.

AAU track is open to boys and girls ages 5-18.

Morris said he started working with the organization in 1992

"I’ve had more than 100 kids go on to track scholarships through my club," he said. "For those kids who are truly interested in track and field and trying to go to school on a scholarship, AAU can give them more exposure and also extend their season. By the time the athletes get in shape in the school season, the season’s over.

"And with how the spring sports — softball, baseball, soccer — have grown, track doesn’t get the same kind of attention in school it used to."

Two meets were rained out at CAC earlier this spring. Saturday’s qualifier will feature timed finals by age group, starting at 8 a.m., with the top 16 in each event advancing to the Area 17 AAU National Qualifying in Yukon, Okla., at the end of June. Medals will go to the top three finishers in each event with ribbons set for places 4 through 8.

Admission is $5 for spectators 5 and over.

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