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Higgs, sprinters cap New Balance opener

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Higgs, sprinters cap New Balance opener

NEW YORK – On day one of the New Balance Collegiate Invitational for the No. 11 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team, Raymond Higgs picked up a fourth-place finish in the championship section of the long jump to lead the Razorbacks’ collective effort Friday. Arkansas also qualified two runners for the finals in the championship section of the 60 meters. The two-day meet is being held at the Armory Track & Field Center in New York.

"This is a great meet with a great atmosphere," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "It was good to see Raymond Higgs making his debut in the long jump. He’ll only get better in that event. We have a big day tomorrow with a pair of relays and finals in some of the long-distance races."

Making his collegiate debut in the long jump, Higgs went out to 25-0.25 in his best attempt of the day to secure his fourth-place finish. He was part of a dominant Southeastern Conference performance as student-athletes from the league occupied the top four overall spots in the event. Tarik Batchelor finished the day with a best jump of 23-6.25 to finish in 10th place.

In the championship division of the 60 meters, the Razorbacks began the day with four participants in the preliminary rounds with LaShawn Butler, Cobi Hamilton, Maudrecus Humphrey and Marek Niit. Butler and Niit both advanced to the two-section final with the respective efforts. Humphrey and Hamilton had times of 7.03 and 7.07, respectively, but did not qualify for the finals. Butler clocked a 6.92 in the finals while Niit did not start the race.

Chris Bilbrew was the first runner left out of the 10-person final rounds in the championship section of the 400 meters. The Razorback junior clocked a 48.51 in his season debut in the event, good for 11th place. Earlier in the day, multi-event competitors Matt Kirbos and Terry Prentice ran in the college heats of the 400 meters. Both recorded personal bests with Prentice crossing in 51.66 and Kirbos clocking in at 52.47.

Arkansas had representation in both divisions of the 500 meters. In the championship section, Travis Southard won his heat and finished 12th overall with a 1:05.33 effort. Earlier, Hunter Bourke placed 20th overall in the college section of the 500 meters with a time of 1:07.64.

In the championship section of the 60-meter hurdles, Andrew Pennington was the Razorbacks’ top performer in the preliminaries after an 8.24 in his heat. He finished 20th in the qualifying standings. Caleb Cross had a good start in his heat but clipped a couple hurdles which slowed him down to an 8.34 and a 22nd-place qualifying mark.

The Razorbacks return to action Saturday for the final day of competition at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational beginning with Humphrey scheduled for the championship division of 200 meters at 12:08 p.m. (ET). Results and video stream will once again be posted at the official website of the Armory Track & Field Center with an interactive blog at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.



Sports Category : Track & Field (M)