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Courtesy: Walt Beazley
The Razorbacks qualified three runners for Sunday's event final in the mile.
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No. 1 Razorbacks lead after SECs day two

02/23/2013
Zach Lawson, Athletic Media Relations
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FAYETTEVILLE – The top-ranked University of Arkansas men's track and field team leads the competition after day two of the 2013 SEC Indoor Championships in Fayetteville. With points scored in four events Saturday, the Razorbacks lead the field with 52 points heading into Sunday's day of finals. In addition to its point total, Arkansas collected 11 qualifiers through the day's preliminary rounds.

The team’s scoring push was paced by a pair of runner-up finishes from Stanley Kebenei at 3,000 meters and Anthony May II in the high jump. In a show of the team’s depth, 10 different Razorbacks scored on day two of the conference meet, including three each in the 3,000 meters, high jump and heptathlon. Arkansas will have 20 scoring entries during Sunday’s event finals.

“I think today was a real solid day for us,” head coach Chris Bucknam said. “It’s always a little topsy-turvy in this meet. For the most part, things have played out pretty much like we thought after today. We got the qualifiers we expected to get in. Now we go back to work tomorrow and see if we can nail this thing down.”

The Razorbacks got on the board with a collection of points from a pair of field-event finals. May equaled his personal best with a final clearance of 2.23m/7-3.75 to claim second place in the high jump. Saturday was his debut at the SEC Championships. Along with respective fourth- and fifth-place finishes from teammates Brede Ellingsen and Noah Kittelson, he helped add 17 points from the high jump to the team’s total.

In the long jump, Raymond Higgs had a day’s best mark of 7.90m/25-11 to grab a third-place finish. His competition in the long jump marked his first since the season-opening event on Jan. 11. Higgs heads into the last-chance weekend with a season-best mark of 26-1 which he established in the dual meet against Texas.

At the end of the two-day, seven-event heptathlon, the Razorbacks racked up 13 points from Nathanael Franks in third place, Julius Sommer in fifth and Matt Kirbos in sixth. All three multi-event competitors total personal-best scores with Franks leading the way at 5,497 points. Sommer—with personal bests in six of seven events this weekend—had 5,449 points while Kirbos posted a final score of 5,246 points.

Kebenei was the Razorbacks’ top performer at 3,000 meters, crossing the finish line second in a personal-best time of 7:58.58. Between his effort and third- and seventh-place finishes from Kemoy Campbell and Solomon Haile, respectively, the Razorbacks’ distance crew scored 16 points in the final event of the day and helped Arkansas to an 18-point lead in the team standings.

The team’s first qualifier of the day was Caleb Cross in the 60-meter hurdles. The Razorback senior was the third overall qualifier during the preliminary round and clocked a time of 7.79 to secure his place in Sunday’s event final. Fellow senior Akheem Gauntlet will represent Arkansas in the finals of the 200 meters, having finished his heat with a time of 20.85, the fourth-fastest time of the prelims.

The Razorback sprinters collected three qualifying spots at 400 meters. Anton Kokorin was the team’s top runner in the preliminary round with a personal-best time of 46.31. He will be joined in Sunday’s championship race by Eric Janise (46.67) and Travis Southard (46.77), who each established personal bests of their own during Saturday’s competition.

There will also be three Razorbacks in the final of the 800 meters, led off by Tomas Squella who was the top overall runner in Saturday’s heats. He had the day’s fastest time with his 1:50.36 result. Ryan Thomas was an automatic qualifier into the next round with a top-two finish in his heat, and Leoman Momoh was the fastest at-large qualifier for the final with this time of 1:50.42.

Arkansas will be represented by three runners in the event final of the mile with the advancing of Campbell, Cameron Efurd and Patrick Rono. All three Razorbacks earned top-two spots in their respective heats to secure automatic placement into the championship run. Rono was the top-overall qualifier with a personal-best time of 4:05.74, more than two seconds faster than his previous career best.

In addition to the work done by the Razorbacks in Saturday’s prelims, the team is scheduled to have nine additional entries in finals with the 4x400-meter and distance-medley relays, two competitors in the 5,000 meters and pole vault and three in the triple jump. The men’s first event of the day will be the triple jump at noon (CT) at the Randal Tyson Track Center.

For tickets, visit the Razorback Ticket Center on Razorback Road by Baum Stadium, log on to the online ticket office at ArkansasRazorbacks.com or call 800/982-HOGS (4647).

ESPN3.com will carry the SEC Indoor Championships with coverage set for all of Sunday’s running events. Commentary duties will be handled by Dwight Stones (play-by-play), Larry Rawson (color analyst) and Lewis Johnson (sideline reporter). ArkansasRazorbacks.com will stream early coverage. A tape-delay television broadcast of the conference meet will air March 13 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

The official hash tag of the 2013 SEC Indoor Championships is #SECTF. For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas cross country and track and field through the team’s sport-specific RazorbackTF Facebook and Twitter pages.

Saturday Results
Team Standings
1. Arkansas – 52 points
2. Florida – 34
3. Georgia – 27
4. Alabama – 17
5. Ole Miss – 13
5. Missouri – 13
5. Texas A&M – 13
8. LSU – 10
9. Auburn – 9
10. Tennessee – 4
11. South Carolina - 3

Individual Events
200 Meters (preliminary)
4. Akheem Gauntlett – 20.85Q
9. Marek Niit – 21.02

400 Meters (preliminary)
3. Anton Kokorin – 46.31Q (PR – prev: 46.88)
5. Eric Janise – 46.67Q (PR – prev: 47.39)
7. Travis Southard – 46.77Q (PR – prev: 47.25)
13. Neil Braddy – 47.41

800 Meters (preliminary)
1. Tomas Squella – 1:50.36Q
5. Ryan Thomas – 1:51.08 Q
7. Leoman Momoh – 1:50.42Q
12. Anthony Lieghio – 1:51.72

Mile (preliminary)
1. Patrick Rono – 4:05.74Q (PR – prev: 4:08.42)
2. Cameron Efurd – 4:08.25Q
4. Kemoy Campbell – 4:05.87Q

3,000 Meters (final)
2. Stanley Kebenei – 7:58.58 [8 points] (PR – prev: 8:00.74)
3. Kemoy Campbell – 8:01.45 [6 points]
7. Solomon Haile – 8:10.87 [2 points]

60m Hurdles (preliminary)
3. Caleb Cross – 7.79Q

High Jump (final)
2. Anthony May II – 2.23m/7-3.75 [8 points] (t-PR)
4. Brede Ellingsen – 2.13/6-11.75 [5 points]
5. Noah Kittelson – 2.13m/6-11.75 [4 points]

Long Jump (final)
3. Raymond Higgs – 7.90m/25-11 [6 points]

Heptathlon
3. Nathanael Franks – 5,497 points [6 points] (PR – prev: 5,424 pts.)
    9. 60mH – 8.78 [795 points]
    5. Pole vault – 4.30m/14-1.25 [702 points] (t-PR)
    1. 1,000 Meters – 2:35.92 [919 points]
5. Julius Sommer – 5,449 points [4 points] (PR – prev: 5,229 pts.)
    3. 60mH – 8.29 [910 points] (PR – prev: 8.51)
    3. Pole vault – 4.50m/14-9 [760 points]
    5. 1,000 Meters – 2:48.73 [779 points] (PR – prev: 2:53.13)
6. Matt Kirbos – 5,246 points [3 points] (PR – prev: 5,201 pts.)
    8. 60mH – 8.74 [804 points]
    4. Pole vault – 4.40m/14-5.25 [731 points]
    10. 1,000 Meters – 3:00.28 [662 points]

PR – personal best; Q – qualified for final

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