FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 12 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team capped the opening day of the Razorback Invitational with an NCAA automatic-qualifying time in the distance-medley relay. The foursome of Bryan Cantero, Chris Bilbrew, Dey Tuach and Duncan Phillips combined for a time of 9:30.85 to seal the crew’s spot at the NCAA Championships. The Razorbacks’ time is the second-fastest in the nation this season and the No. 9 mark in school history.
"Our guys ran with composure and got the job done," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "That was a big one to get out of the way for us. It was a good effort by our team and, for this early in the season, that is a big race for us to be able to put down that kind of time. We chased the mark all the way to the Last Chance meet last year so it’s good to get it out of the way at this point."
Through the first four events of the two-day heptathlon, Arkansas owns three of the top four spots. Terry Prentice sits in first place with a 13-point lead over teammate Kevin Lazas. With the aid of personal bests in the long jump and high jump, Prentice leads the way with 3,090 points. Lazas is second with 3,077 points and Matt Kirbos has 2,924 points, good for fourth place. At last year’s Razorback Invitational, Prentice set the school record in the event with 5,350 points.
In the 60 meters, LaShawn Butler qualified for Saturday’s semifinal round with a clocking of 6.85 in his preliminary heat. He finished 13th overall. Maudrecus Humphrey, also a member of the Razorback football team, made his season debut with a time of 6.96 and Neill Braddy had a time of 6.99 in his heat; neither advanced to the next round.
Arkansas placed five inside the top 15 of the 200 meters with Marek Niit pacing the team’s effort with a fourth-place overall effort. He crossed in a time of 21.05. Butler was 10th overall in a time of 21.28 and Cobi Hamilton, in his debut following the football season, clocked a time of 21.34 for 11th place. Braddy and Ben Skidmore ran an identical time of 21.56 to tie for 14th place. Hunter Bourke rounded out Arkansas’ competitors in the event with a 22.19, good for 30th position. The times for Skidmore and Bourke are respective personal bests.
Caleb Cross made his season debut in the 60-meter hurdles but did not finish after a fall. Andrew Pennington was ninth overall in a time of 8.34 but did not qualify for tomorrow’s final.
Raymond Higgs had a sixth-place showing in the high jump. He cleared the bar set at 7-0.5, a personal-best mark. Fellow freshman Dwayne Golbek finished the event in 12th place. In other field results, Marlon Dwyer and Justin Holmes finished 16th and 17th in the shot put, respectively.
With a competition field that features eight teams ranked in the nation’s top 25, the first day of the Razorback Invitational saw several NCAA seasonal bests and qualifying marks. All told, the 11-team field (men’s and women’s) combined for 12 individual automatic qualifiers and two relay qualifiers.
Arkansas returns to action Saturday for the conclusion of the Razorback Invitational. Competition begins at 11 a.m. (CT) with the completion of the heptathlon at the Randal Tyson Track Center. Follow this weekend’s action via video stream, interaction blog and live results at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: Razorback Invitational_Day 1 Results.pdf