FAYETTEVILLE – Three weeks into the 2011 indoor season, the United States Cross Country and Track and Field Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) has released its first in-season national rankings. The University of Arkansas women’s team is the sixth-ranked team in the country and the Razorback men come in at the No. 12 spot. Both teams return to action this weekend, Jan. 28-29, with the Razorback Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
In the women’s poll, Arkansas holds steady at No. 6 with 93.04 points, maintaining its spot from the preseason rankings. The Razorbacks are one of five Southeastern Conference team in the top 25 which includes four teams inside the top 10. Arkansas is the third-highest SEC team behind No. 3 LSU and No. 5 Tennessee. Auburn at No. 7 and South Carolina at No. 22 round out the conference’s ranked teams. The Razorbacks are No. 3 in the South Central region behind Texas A&M and LSU.
Individually, Arkansas’ women are represented in three top-10 event rankings. In the 400 meters, Shelise Williams (54.16) and Regina George (54.27) are sixth and eighth in the NCAA, respectably, and Stephanie Brown owns the nation’s top time in the 800 meters (2:06.75). In the pole vault, Tina Sutej is No. 2 (14-5.25) while teammate Tara Diebold has the sixth-best clearance (13-9.25) this season. The 4×400-meter relay team of Gwendolyn Flowers, George, Whitney Jones and Williams has combined for the third-best time in the nation this season.
In the men’s poll, the Razorbacks are up a spot to No. 12 from their preseason ranking. Including Arkansas, there are five teams from the Southeastern Conference represented in the poll, all of which are inside the top 15. Behind top-ranked LSU and No. 2 Florida, Arkansas is followed by Auburn at No. 13 and Georgia at No. 14. In the South Central region, the Razorbacks are No. 3, behind Texas A&M and LSU.
After two weeks of competition, Tarik Batchelor is ranked within the top 10 of two individual events. He owns the top mark in the triple jump (54-2.5) and sits at No. 3 in the long jump (26-2.25). Both of his marks are NCAA automatic qualifiers. In the 400 meters, Neill Braddy is just outside the top 10 with a time of 47.58, the 14th-best time in the nation. Arkansas’ distance-medley (10:03.37) and 4×400-meter (3:12.62) relays come in at No. 12 and 14, respectively.
Competition at this weekend’s Razorback Invitational begins at 11 a.m. (CT) on both days. The first 250 fans at the Randal Tyson Track Center will receive a pack of Razorback Silly Bandz. Follow the action via the video stream, interactive blog and live stats at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: Top 25 Rankings_01.25.11.pdf