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Bucknam, Franks collect SEC outdoor honors

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Bucknam, Franks collect SEC outdoor honors
FAYETTEVILLE — On the heels of the team’s winning effort at the SEC Championships last weekend, Chris Bucknam and Nathanael Franks have each earned end-of-the-year conference honors. Bucknam has been named the SEC Coach of the Year while Franks was voted the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Bucknam guided the fourth-ranked Razorbacks to the program’s 11th overall SEC title under his watch. “Obviously, we’re very pleased with the outcome at the SEC Championships,” Bucknam said. “Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s our first line of defense during the championship season. It’s really important to our University and to our program. Track and field is a team sport at Arkansas. It always has been and it always will be. That’s exactly what it takes to win an SEC championship. We’re proud of that label.” Bucknam adds an 11th SEC coaching honor to his credit, and his fourth during the outdoor season. He also has four indoor track and field and three cross country awards. The win also completed the Razorbacks’ second-consecutive SEC Triple Crown. Bucknam has led his team to titles at 11 of the 15 SEC Championships contested during his five seasons at Arkansas,. The Razorback men have won the last seven SEC competitions, dating back to the 2011 outdoor meet in Athens, Ga. Competing at this first SEC Outdoor Championships, Franks finished third in the decathlon with a personal-best score of 7,520 points, a mark that moved the redshirt sophomore into fourth place on the program’s all-time list. In the classroom, Franks carried a 3.96 cumulative GPA, was a Chancellor’s Scholar, completed his undergraduate degree in 2.5 years and earned two degrees in December 2012, one each in chemistry and physics. He just completed his first semester of graduate school, seeking an MBA in finance. The Damascus, Ore., native was also the recipient of the 2013 Wooden Citizenship Cup and a member of the SEC Community Service Team for cross country and track and field. Franks currently owns the No. 17 decathlon score on the national performance list and has qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the first time in his collegiate career. Franks is the fourth Razorback to be selected the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and the first since Dorian Ulrey was recognized in 2009. Arkansas’ two other scholar-athlete recipients were Jason Sanfort in 2004 and Jaanus Uudmae in 2005. The fourth-ranked Razorbacks won five event titles on their way to 152.5 points and the team crown at the 2013 SEC Outdoor Championships. Arkansas racked up SEC titles from Kemoy Campbell at 5,000 meters, Caleb Cross in the 400-meter hurdles, Andrew Irwin in the pole vault, Leoman Momoh at 800 meters and Patrick Rono at 1,500 meters. Cross’ win represented the second hurdle victory of his career. All five Razorback conference champions earned spots on the All-SEC First Team. The team also collected Second-Team accolades for Akheem Gauntlett (400 meters), Solomon Haile (10,000 meters), Stanley Kebenei (3,000-meter steeplechase) and Kevin Lazas (decathlon), who all had runner-up finishes in their events. As the top freshman performer in the long jump, Jarrion Lawson was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. A tape-delayed broadcast of the 2013 SEC Outdoor Championships will air May 23 on ESPNU at 7 p.m. (CT). Arkansas’ postseason schedule continues May 23-25 with the NCAA West Preliminary in Austin, Texas. After national qualifiers are decided, the collegiate season will come to a conclusion June 5-8 with the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore. 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.
2013 SEC Outdoor Track and Field Awards Men’s Coach of the Year Chris Bucknam Scholar-Athlete of the Year Nathanael Franks All-SEC First Team Kemoy Campbell — 5,000m Caleb Cross — 400mH Andrew Irwin — pole vault Leoman Momoh — 800m Patrick Rono — 1,500m All-SEC Second Team Akheem Gauntlett — 400m Solomon Haile — 10,000m Stanley Kebenei — 3,000m steeplechase Kevin Lazas — decathlon SEC All-Freshman Team Jarrion Lawson — long jump


Sports Category : Track & Field (M)