FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Razorbacks are predicted to successfully defend their indoor national title after Trackwire.com picked Arkansas as No. 1 in its first rankings of the season. The Hogs were given 54 points and are only one point ahead of second-ranked Florida State (53), making the team race very tight.
“It’s nice to see that people believe we can do it, but it’s going to be tough,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “Florida State, Wisconsin and Texas are excellent teams, but we can use this ranking to motivate the team. We can tell them to go out and prove you’re the best team in the nation.”
Wisconsin tallied 45 points for No. 3 and Texas has 38 points for the No. 4 position. Southeastern Conference opponent LSU rounded out the top five with 31. Additional league schools found in the top 25 include Tennessee at No. 6 (27), Florida tied at No. 15 (14), South Carolina at No. 18 (12) and Auburn tied in 20th (10).
Trackwire also released its Dandy Dozen and six Hogs and one relay team were ranked among the top 12 collegiate athletes and teams in each NCAA event. Three Razorbacks will be pulling double duty as indicated by the listing. Freshman sprinter J-Mee Samuels was placed at No. 2 in the 60-meter dash and No. 3 in the 200-meter dash.
Senior Josphat Boit and junior Peter Kosgei were both ranked high in the 3,000 and 5,000-meter runs. Boit is second and third, respectively, while Kosgei is close behind at third and fourth in the events. Kosgei has experience in doubling in the distances after he was seventh in the 5K and second in the 3K in 2005. Boit registered a sixth-place performance in the 5,000 meters at nationals.
Samuels wasn’t the only freshman to break into the top 12. Nkosinza Balumbu recently posted a provisional qualifying mark (51-0.75) in the triple jump over the weekend at the Arkansas Invitational and is ranked at No. 3.
In the mile run a pair of UA athletes are ranked in the top 10. Junior Adam Perkins is at No. 6 and senior Said Ahmed is in the No. 9 spot. At last year’s NCAA meet Ahmed finished sixth in the mile race, while Perkins earned the same finish in the 3,000 meters.
UA’s distance medley relay was predicted to finish third, but after being disqualified last year the Razorbacks will be looking to move up the rankings as the season goes along.
Arkansas will compete at home again this weekend when they host the Razorback Invitational on Jan. 20-21 at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The Boston Indoor Games will follow on Jan. 27-28.
Complete Trackwire 25 Rankings:
Ranking – Team Points
1. Arkansas 54
2. Florida State 53
3. Wisconsin 45
4. Texas 38
5. LSU 31
6. Tennessee 27
7. Nebraska 26
9. Texas Tech 21
10. Virginia Tech 20
11. Oregon 19
12. Texas A&M 17
13. Indiana 15
15. TCU 14
18. South Carolina12
19. UTEP 11
20. USC 10
Kansas State 10
Notre Dame 10