FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas Razorback men’s cross country and track and field head coach Chris Bucknam and assistant coaches Doug Case and Travis Geopfert welcome a large group of new elite student-athletes to their squads for the 2010-11 academic year and athletic season.
Bryan Cantero joins the Razorbacks this fall as a freshman member of the cross country and track and field teams. The Aoste, France native holds prep bests of 1:50.08 in the 800 meters and 3:41 in the 1,500 meters. He finished eighth at the 2009 European Cross Country Championships and 51st at the 2010 World Junior Cross Country Championships.
"Bryan Cantero has the potential to be one of the top middle distance runners in the NCAA," Bucknam said. "He has already shown his talents and abilities while running for his native France at various international competitions. Bryan will fit in perfectly with our group of middle distance runners that includes NCAA Champion and All-American Dorian Ulrey and SEC Champion and All-American Duncan Phillips, just to name a few."
Kevin Lazas is a native of Brentwood, Tenn. and competes in the multi events. He was a member of Brentwood High School’s two-time state champion team and the 2009 state runner-up team. Lazas holds personal bests of 7,510 in the decathlon, 3,758 in the pentathlon, 23-2.5 in the long jump, 15-0 in the pole vault and 183-8 in the javelin. His decathlon best of 7,213 from 2009 was No. 1 in the nation. He holds the No. 2 point total in the nation in 2010 with his mark of 7,510. Lazas is a two-time AAU Junior Olympic and National Champion in the decathlon, the 2009 Tennessee State Champion in the decathlon and the 2009 Tennessee state runner-up in the pole vault. He was a 2008 and 2009 Nike Indoor All-American and was a member of Team USA and competed in the decathlon at the 2010 World Junior Championships.
"Lazas is the best all-around student-athlete in the country," Bucknam said. "He has terrific experience in the decathlon and was mentored by one of the best high school coaches around in Gary Kinder. He’s an outstanding decathlete that will also add depth in open events like the javelin and the pole vault."
Dey Tuach will join the Razorbacks from Rend Lake College. He will compete in the middle distance and distance events on the track and compete in cross country during the fall season. He helped Rend Lake College to the 2009 NJCAA Cross Country team title by placing 11th for a spot on the NJCAA All-America Team. He earned a bronze finish in the 1,500 meters at the 2009 NJCAA Outdoor Championships and a runner-up finish in the 800 meters at the 2009 NJCAA Indoor Championships. He holds bests of 1:47 in the 800 meters, 3:48 in the 1,500 meters, 24:14 over 8K and 30:24 in the 10K.
"Dey Tuach instantly adds depth to our middle distance and distance events," Bucknam said. "He’s also a very talented cross country runner and we’re looking forward to him competing on our teams."
Nathanael Franks, a native of Damascus, Ore., will join the squad as a Chancellor’s Scholar walk-on and will compete in the heptathlon and decathlon. While attending Sam Barlow High School, Franks was the 2010 valedictorian, was the 2010 Oregon State Champion in the high jump and was also a member of the state champion 4×400-meter relay team. Franks holds prep bests of 49.43 in the 400 meters, 171-9 in the javelin and 6-7 in the high jump. He recently won the decathlon at the 2010 USATF National Junior Olympic Championships. Franks scored 6,905 points for the win. Franks’ personal-best point total of 6,905 ranks No. 3 among high school athletes during the 2010 outdoor season.
"Nathanael is a terrific student-athlete and we are thrilled we attracted him to our campus and our team," Bucknam said. "He is a very well-rounded student with an impressive academic resume. He is a very gutsy kid with an enthusiastic attitude. Those are the intangibles that you can’t teach."
Sam Ewing is a native of Glenwood, Ark., graduated from Lake Hamilton High School and competes in the pole vault. He holds a personal best of 17-2. His height of 17-0 during the 2009 indoor season was No. 2 in the nation. He won the 2009 and 2010 Arkansas State titles during the outdoor season. He also won the vault at the 2009 Arkansas Meet of Champions. He set a then-meet record with his clearance of 16-7.25.
"Ewing was the top prep vaulter in the country," Bucknam said. "He is a local talent that we are very excited about. He has the ability to come in and make an immediate impact on the SEC and NCAA level."
Tom Cattin-Masson is a native of Aiguebelette, France and a transfer from Texas Tech. He holds prep bests of 1:49.38 in the 800 meters, 3:47.70 in the 1,500 meters and 8:20.91 in the 3,000 meters. Cattin-Masson holds his high school’s school record in the 800 meters. He has three top-eight finishes at the French Championships in the 1,500 meters. He was fourth as a member of the 4×800-meter relay at the 2008 national championships and is a four-time under-23 inter-club champion.
"We get more depth in our middle distances with Tom Cattin-Masson," Bucknam said. "He’s a very talented 800-meter runner and will likely compete at various distances and on our important relay teams."
Auston Chen is a native of Tampa, Florida and competes in the multi events. He holds personal bests of 6,473 in the decathlon and 174-3 in the discus. He competed in the AAU Junior Olympics, the USATF Junior Olympics and the USATF World Youth Trials. Chen finished third at the 2009 Florida State Championships in the discus (171-0). He also holds his high school’s records in the discus (171-0) and the shot put (48-5.5).
"Chen is a state champion out of Florida and will add great depth to our multi-events program," Bucknam said. "He has great experience in the decathlon and we are excited to have him as a Razorback."
Dwayne Golbek is a native of Claremore, Okla. and competes in the high jump. He is the Claremore High School and Oklahoma State record holder in the high jump with his clearance of 7-0. Golbek holds a personal best of 7-0.5. He competed at the World Youth Trials (runner-up finish) and the World Youth Championships (10th). Golbek is a three-time all-state honoree, a two-time conference champion and a regional champion.
"Golbek is one of the best and most consistent high jumpers in the country," Bucknam said. "He already has international experience and has been over seven feet numerous times. He is a great student-athlete and will give us tremendous depth in the high jump."
Noah Kittelson is a native of Indianola, Iowa and competes in the high jump. He is a two-time state champion, a three-time conference champion and a three-time Drake Relays Champion. He holds a high jump personal-best of 7-0.5.
"What a great addition to our track and field program," Bucknam said. "Noah is not just a great athlete but a great student, as well. We have had our eye on him for a couple of years now. We knew he had terrific ability and now his hard work and effort are paying off. I’m very excited for our high jump crew next year."
Jeff Woods is a native of Louisburg, Kan. and is a transfer from Johnson County Community College. He competes in the throwing events. He holds bests of 195-10 in the javelin, 160-2 in the discus and 154-0 in the hammer. He is a three-time NJCAA All-American and at the 2010 NJCAA Championships, he competed in the discus and the javelin.
Toby Bothwell is a native of Oklahoma City, Okla. and competes in the middle distance and distance events. He was named the 2009 Gatorade Oklahoma Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. At the Oklahoma State Cross Country Championships, he earned a runner-up finish as a senior and a third-place finish as a junior. He holds the Westmoore High School records in the 1,600 meters (4:26) and the 3,200 meters (9:52). Bothwell picked up two conference titles and three regional titles while competing in the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters. He was also the state runner-up at 3,200 meters as a junior. He is a National Merit finalist, an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction and an Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Fleming Scholar.
Nii Ayi is a native of France and is a transfer from Iowa Central College. He competes in the jumps. He holds a long jump personal best of 25-3 and a triple jump personal best of 46-7.5. He set the Iowa Central C.C. school records in the indoor and outdoor long jumps. He also holds top-10 marks on the indoor and outdoor triple jump lists.
Fort Smith, Ark. native Neil Braddy was a member of the 2009 and 2010 Arkansas 7A state champion track and field teams. Braddy holds personal bests of 10.57 in the 100 meters, 21.57 in the 200 meters, 48.01 in the 400 meters, 23-4.5 in the long jump and 48.07 as a leg of the 4×400-meter relay. At the 2010 Arkansas 7A State Championships, he won the 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters, 4×400-meter relay and the long jump. He holds the Southside High School records in the 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters, long jump and as a member of the 4×100-meter relay.
Caleb Hanson is a native of Fort Smith, Ark. and is a redshirt-freshman transfer from UALR. He recorded personal bests of 1:58 in the 800 meters, 4:14 in the 1,600 meters and 9:32 in the 3,200 meters at Southside High School. He was the 2009 Mile National Emergin Elite Champion and he helped lead the Rebels to the 2009 Arkansas State Championship title. In 2008, he earned Arkansas Track Coaches Association All-Arkansas Track and Field honors and led the state in the 3,200 meters. He holds the Southside High School records in the 1.600 meters, the 3,200 meters and as a member of the 4×800-meter relay. He was the 2009 Arkansas State Champion at 1,600 meters.
Tyler Bradley is a native of The Woodlands, Texas and competes in the middle distance and distance events. He holds prep bests of 1:57 in the 800 meters, 4:18 in the 1,600 meters, 9:17 in the 3,200 meters and 15:40 in the cross country 5,000 meters. While competing for The Woodlands High School, he was part of four state championship cross country teams and competed at the Nike Cross Nationals.