12/10 - 7:00 PM
WBB vs Tulsa
12/20 - 7:00 PM
WBB vs Tennessee Tech
12/28 - 2:00 PM
WBB vs Mississippi Valley State
01/02 - 7:00 PM
WBB vs SOUTH CAROLINA
01/05 - 2:00 PM
WBB at MISSOURI
01/09 - 6:00 PM
WBB at FLORIDA
01/12 - 2:00 PM
WBB vs MISSISSIPPI STATE
01/16 - 6:00 PM
WBB at GEORGIA
01/19 - 2:00 PM
WBB vs OLE MISS
01/26 - 12:00 PM
WBB at KENTUCKY
01/30 - 6:00 PM
WBB at TENNESSEE
02/02 - 2:00 PM
WBB vs AUBURN
02/06 - 7:00 PM
WBB vs FLORIDA
02/09 - 1:00 PM
WBB at SOUTH CAROLINA
02/13 - 7:00 PM
WBB vs ALABAMA
April 19-20, 2013
1. #2 ARKANSAS - 86
2. #4 Oregon - 77
EUGENE, Ore. – After 18 events and three legs of the 4x400-meter relay, the dual meet between the No. 2 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team and fourth-ranked Oregon came down to the final 150 meters of the anchor leg. Razorback senior Akheem Gauntlett charged down the final straight to hold off Oregon’s Mike Berry to give his team the relay win and secure Arkansas’ 86-77 win over the Ducks on their home track Saturday at Hayward Field.
With Saturday’s performance, the Razorbacks also handed Oregon its first dual-meet loss since the 2000 season. Arkansas and Oregon entered the weekend as the top-two teams in the dual rankings compiled by Track & Field News. The Arkansas-Oregon dual was part of this weekend’s annual Oregon Relays. The meet played out in front of an announced crowd of 7,344 in the stands.
“I’m really appreciative of the University of Oregon and its coaching staff having us here and creating this meet inside of a meet,” head coach Chris Bucknam said. “It was great for all of our guys to be in this atmosphere and compete at Hayward Field. It feels great to get a win today. The one thing about a meet like this is there’s no place to hide. It’s us against them. No matter what adversities you face, you have to step up to them.”
Overall, the Razorbacks won 10 of the 19 events scored during the head-to-head competition. In addition to its first-place result in the 4x400-meter relay, Arkansas also racked up victories from Gauntlett at 200 meters, Caleb Cross in the 400-meter hurdles, Stanley Kebenei in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Noah Kittelson in the high jump, Andrew Irwin in the pole vault, Tarik Batchelor in the long and triple jumps, Devin Randall in the shot put and the team’s 4x100-meter relay.
The Razorbacks began the day facing a 16-point deficit after Friday night’s two-event start. Oregon owned a 17-1 lead to begin day two, and its advantage was as large as 18 points Saturday after a win at 100 meters put the home team up by a score of 52-34. Arkansas didn’t move into the lead until Batchelor and Irwin wrapped up wins almost simultaneously in the triple jump and pole vault, respectively.
Arkansas held an 81-77 lead heading into the 4x400-meter relay, the final event of the meet. Based on the scoring system, the winning team would receive five points with the runner-up getting zero. With the meet win up for grabs, the foursome of Cross, Gauntlett, Neil Braddy and Anton Kokorin responded with a winning time of 3:07.14. The Razorbacks finished .25 ahead of the Oregon relay team.
“When I got the baton, all I’m thinking is ‘what’s going to happen?’” Gauntlett said. “Is he going to kick? When am I going to kick? I was just focused on not taking myself out of the race because (Mike Berry) is a great competitor. The crowd was great. They were yelling and just adding to the competitiveness of it being the last event. This was it and I knew I had to take it home.”
Gauntlett and Cross were three-time winners Saturday in Eugene. Both were members of the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays in addition to their individual wins. Gauntlett posted a season-best time of 20.55 to win at 200 meters and also finished second at 100 meters. Cross took first in the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 51.50, avenging an earlier loss to Johnathan Cabral in the 110-meter hurdles. The Razorbacks’ 4x100-meter relay team of Braddy, Cross, Gauntlett and Jarrion Lawson clocked in at 39.79.
In the first steeplechase as a Razorback, Kebenei ran to the No. 3 time in the NCAA this season with his winning time of 8:43.67. That time moves him into 10th place on the program’s all-time performance list in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Kebenei is the first Arkansas runner to crack the event’s top-10 list since the 2009 season when Scott MacPherson ran 8:38.87 at the NCAA Championships.
For the second consecutive weekend, Batchelor was a two-time winner with his efforts in the long jump and triple jump. He began his day with a mark of 7.73m/25-4.5 to win the long jump and followed with a season-best mark of 15.93m/52-3.25 to win the triple jump. Batchelor’s measure in the triple jump was the second-best outdoor leap of his career. He and Anthony May II finished 1-2 in the event to push Arkansas into the team lead.
Irwin picked up his third win of the season, but his first using borrowed poles due to a shipping miscue with Arkansas’ poles. The Razorback sophomore had a final clearance of 5.50m/18-0.5; he secured first place with a clearance at the previous height. With the win in hand, Irwin raised the bar to a would-be season best of 5.67m/18-7.25 but had three unsuccessful attempts. Kittelson led a 1-2-3 sweep for the Razorbacks in the high jump, taking first with a final clearance of 2.15m/7-0.5.
Arkansas’ first win of the day came from Randall in the shot put. During the second round of throws, the redshirt freshman measured an outdoor personal best of 16.43m/53-11. That mark is more than a foot beyond his previous collegiate best of 52-0.5 from the season-opening Texas State Elite back in March. He returned for a second-place finish in the discus with a day’s best of 51.16m/167-10.
“This win feels great,” Gauntlett said. “I heard (the PA) say they haven’t lost a dual meet since 2000 so to come here and win, it feels good. Plus, it’s just great running track here because the crowd is so supportive of what we’re doing. It was a lot of fun.”
The Razorbacks will now travel back to Fayetteville to begin preparations for next weekend’s Arkansas Invitational. The one-day meet will be contested April 27 at John McDonnell Field and, in addition to the Razorbacks, will feature a field of teams that includes third-ranked Florida. Running events at the home meet are scheduled for a 3 p.m. (CT) start with field events beginning at 10 a.m.
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.