FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For the second week in a row, Arkansas Razorback men’s track and field is ranked No. 1 by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, it was announced on Wednesday.
The Razorbacks are the top-ranked team this week. Arizona State sits at No. 2 and Oregon rounds out the top three. Arkansas is one of six Southeastern Conference teams list in this week’s poll. Florida ranks No. 4, LSU is No. 10, Georgia is No. 12, South Carolina sits at No. 14 and Kentucky is No. 16.
Arkansas had a stellar weekend of competition at the UW Invitational. The quartet of senior Alex McClary (1,200 meters; 2:55), freshman Ben Skidmore (400 meters; 47.7), sophomore Chris Bilbrew (800 meters; 1:49) and junior Dorian Ulrey (mile, 3:54) combined for a time of 9:28.35 to set a school record and win the distance medley relay.
The group’s time is a Dempsey Indoor Track record, an NCAA automatic-qualifying mark and the national and SEC leader. The time of 9:28.35 replaces the previous school record of 9:28.78 set by Seneca Lassiter, Jeremy Huffman, Ryan Stanley and Michael Power at the Iowa State Classic in 1998.
In the 5,000 meter run, freshman Lane Boyer ran a solid 14:16.48. He finished fourth overall and shed nearly 30 seconds off his personal best time. Boyer ranks third in the SEC in the event.
Coming off a superb mile anchor on the distance medley relay, Ulrey stunned the crowd again by winning the invitational 3,000 meters. Teammate and senior Shawn Forrest led for most of the race and was passed by Ulrey coming off the final turn.
Ulrey’s winning time in the 3K, 7:50.86, is the national leader, the SEC leader and automatically qualifies him for the NCAA Championships in March. Ulrey, the SEC Runner of the Week, is now automatically qualified for three events at the NCAA Championships – the mile, the 3,000 meters and the DMR.
Ulrey’s 3,000-meter clocking also ranks No. 6 on Arkansas’ all-time list. For the third race in the last seven days, Ulrey has inked his name to the Arkansas record books. He also ranks No. 1 on the Arkansas list as a member of the DMR and No. 9 for his 3:57.66 mile.
Forrest finished second with a 7:51.07, also an automatic qualifier. His time ranks second in the NCAA and second in the SEC. Forrest holds the No. 7 spot on the Arkansas all-time list.
In his season debut, NCAA All-American James Strang finished 12th in the 3,000 meters. He clocked a time of 8:07.39. His time ranks fifth in the SEC and just missed the NCAA provisional time of 8:05.
Alex McClary, coming off a stellar performance in Friday night’s distance medley relay, rebounded well with an NCAA provisional-qualifying time in the 800 meters. Clocking a 1:50.02, he ranks second in the SEC and seventh nationally.
To end a solid weekend of competition, Arkansas won the 4×400-meter relay. The quartet of Skidmore, Travis Nollsch, Jake Stephens and Bilbrew combined for a time of 3:15.41. Bilbrew, in his third race of the weekend, chased down Oregon, Washington, Stanford, BYU and Oral Roberts to take the tape.
Arkansas will compete next at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational, Feb. 6-7, at the Armory Track Center in New York. For more information on Arkansas track and field, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.