KNOXVILLE, Ark. – No. 25 Arkansas Razorback men’s track and field picked up an individual title in the long jump, a runner-up finish in the high jump and a bronze finish in the 5,000 meters at the 2010 SEC Outdoor Championships, in Knoxville, Tenn.
Florida won the team race with 124 points, LSU was second with 100 points and South Carolina rounded out the top three with 89 points. The Razorbacks finished seventh with 64 points. The Hogs picked up an individual title in the long jump (Alain Bailey), a runner-up finish in the high jump (Brede Raa Ellingsen) and a bronze finish in the 5,000 meters (Eric Fernandez).
"We are here with a young team and we’ll find out soon if this experience will pay off," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "We’ll learn from it. I’m not going to sugarcoat it; we got beat. We have a lot of work to do and we need to improve. But I think this will pay dividends for us next year. This young team got their first taste of SEC experience and their first taste of defeat. We’ll see how they respond but I think with this group, it will be a positive response."
"We need to see how these guys respond to adversity," Bucknam said. "This group is not where we aspire to be but we did have some outstanding individual efforts. And this was the perfect learning environment, with the weather and the delays, for our young team. This was key for their progression."
Freshman Brede Raa Ellingsen earned a runner-up finish in the high jump and bettered his fourth-place finish from the SEC Indoor Championships. He cleared 7-1.5. Sophomore Tarik Batchelor finished fourth in the triple jump with a season-best mark of 51-0. Sophomore Stuart Sparks finished fifth in the pole vault with a clearance of 15-11. Sophomore Justin Holmes finished ninth in the discus with a toss of 158-9.
Freshman Eric Fernandez earned a bronze finish in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:08.38. Freshman Solomon Haile was fifth in a time of 14:11.89. Russell finished 18th (14:40.68) and senior Rio Reina was 23rd (14:47.01).
In the finals of the 1,500 meters, junior Michael Chinchar finished fifth in 3:52.06, sophomore Duncan Phillips finished sixth in 3:52.32 and junior Patrick Russell was 12th in 3:54.23.
Freshman Hunter Bourke was sixth in the 400-meter hurdles. He clocked a time of 53.35. Sophomore Andrew Pennington had trouble with the first hurdle in the 110-meter hurdles and never regained his footing. He finished the race in 19.06 but still managed a seventh-place finish.
The Hogs’ 4×400-meter relay finished seventh as freshman Caleb Cross, junior LaShawn Butler, junior Chris Bilbrew and sophomore Ben Skidmore combined for a time of 3:09.12. Arkansas’ 4×100-meter relay finished ninth. Cross, Bourke, Butler and freshman Cobi Hamilton combined for a season-best time of 40.25.
The Razorbacks will compete next at the NCAA West preliminary rounds, May 27-29, in Austin, Texas.