Arkansas to Field Full Team at Razorback Invit
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 1 ranked Arkansas track and field team is set to host their second straight home meet of the indoor season with the Razorback Invitational on Jan. 23-24. The Hogs are looking to gain more NCAA qualifiers as they field a full squad with 23 athletes set to compete in 12 events.
“This will be the first weekend that we’re going to get a good look at just about everybody on the team,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “We have a few aches and pains, I think 99 percent of our guys are ready to run. I don’t know if we’re going to run fast enough to qualify some people for nationals; hopefully we will. We’re running a pretty good distance medley. This week we’ll get a much better look at what we’ve got and see if we’re the team everyone thinks we are.”
Five UA athletes will run in the 800 meters, including NCAA mile champion Chris Mulvaney, junior James Hatch, sophomores Brad Dittoe and David Wittenmyer and freshman Ryan Botha. Mulvaney will be joined by seniors Alistair Cragg and Maurice Bridges, and freshman Sam Vazquez in the distance medley relay as they try to put together an NCAA qualifying time. Arkansas is planning on having a 4×400-meter relay team, but the participating athletes have yet to be determined.
In addition to the DMR, Bridges is running in the 400 meters, with junior transfer Terry Gatson and junior Chason Pompey. Pompey will also be a part of a 200-meter dash that is loaded with Razorback athletes. Senior Michael Thomas, junior Omar Brown, UA 60-meter record holder junior transfer Tyson Gay and freshman Creighton Kiper will all lineup against one another in what should be a fast 200-meter race. Thomas will see additional action in the 60-meter dash with Kiper, and as well as his signature event, the 60-meter hurdles.
Juniors Said Ahmed and Jason Sandfort and freshman Mike Poe will compete in the mile run. Sophomore transfer Eric Gross and freshman Adam Perkins will take to the track in the 3,000 meters. Perkins is coming off his victory in the mile at last week’s Arkansas Invitational, while Gross will look to establish a solid time.
In the field events freshman Greg Martin will double in the high and long jumps, with junior Cory Oldham also entered in the high jump. Senior P.J. Brown and junior Jimmy Duke will represent Arkansas in the pole vault.
This weekend’s competitors will include a lot of familiar faces from last week’s Arkansas Invitational. Arkansas-Little Rock, Oklahoma Baptist and Texas are the only new schools that were added to the list. Teams returning to join Arkansas include Missouri Southern, Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts, Southwest Missouri State and Tulsa.
Events on Friday will begin with the long jump at 5 p.m. and end with the DMR at 7:50 p.m. The prelims of the 60-meter hurdles will start Saturday off at 3 p.m. and conclude at 6:20 with the 4×400-meter relay. Admission for the Razorback Invitational is $5 and free to students with an ID.
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