FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 7 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team will be represented by 20 student-athletes, spread among 13 events, and two relays at the 2011 NCAA West Preliminary Round, which will be held May 26-28 at Hayward Field in Eugene Ore. The top 48 declared athletes were selected into individual events per region, while the top 24 relay teams declared per region also qualified.
The NCAA East Prelim will be held at the same time at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex in Bloomington, Ind. Those who advance past the preliminary round will compete June 8-11 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. The top 12 from each region in each event, including relays, advance to the NCAA Championships.
Arkansas will have SEC champion Marek Niit (No. 3, 20.44) and LaShawn Butler (No. 7, 20.66) in the 200 meters. The Razorbacks will have a trio of runners in the 400 meters with Ben Skidmore (No. 21. 46.58), Travis Southard (No. 24, 46.67) and Neil Braddy (No. 35, 47.08).
The team will be well represented in the middles distances with five student-athletes between the 800- and 1,500-meter events. Leoman Momoh (No. 31, 1:49.55) and Chris Bilbrew (No. 39, 1:49.82) will compete in the 800 meters, and in the 1,500 meters, Duncan Phillips (No. 2, 3:39.87) will be joined by Dorian Ulrey (No. 10, 3:42.76) and Tom Cattin-Masson (No. 24, 3:45.11).
Rick Elliott (No. 20, 8:53.63) is the only Arkansas runner in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Eric Fernandez (5K – No. 25, 13:54.33; 10K – No. 8, 28:48.44) qualified for both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, one of three Razorbacks that are scheduled to compete in two individual events; Tarik Batchelor and Raymond Higgs are the other two.
In the hurdle events, Caleb Cross (No. 16, 13.78) will line up to race in the 110-meter hurdles, while Andrew Pennington (No. 43, 52.20) is set to run the 400-meter hurdles.
For the second consecutive season, both Razorback relays have qualified for a spot at the preliminary site. Arkansas will be represented in the 4×100 relay by the foursome of Cross, Braddy, Butler and Niit (No. 7, 39.47) while the team’s 4×400 relay will consist of Travis Southard, Niit, Bilbrew and Braddy (No. 5, 3:06.29).
Arkansas has four qualifiers in the high jump, the team’s highest number for any one event. Brede Raa Ellingsen (No. 15, 2.16m) leads the way for the group that also includes Higgs (No. 16, 2.15m), Noah Kittelson (No. 17, 2.15m) and Dwayne Golbek (No. 39, 2.11m).
Batchelor (No. 1, 8.19m) is the top qualifier in the West region in the long jump. He will be joined by Higgs (No. 3, 8.15m) in the event. In the triple jump, Batchelor (No. 11, 15.85m) will compete for a second spot at the national meet. Justin Holmes (No. 42, 52.88m) will carry the banner for Arkansas’ throws crew in the discus.
Along with the accepted entries for next weekend’s preliminary events, the list of decathlon qualifiers that will advance directly to the NCAA Championships was also released. Kevin Lazas will represent the Razorbacks in the two-day, 10-event competition. He owns the No. 8 total in the NCAA with 7,703 points. Lazas is one of just two freshmen on the list.
On the heels of their SEC team title, the Razorbacks climbed four spots to the No. 7 ranking in the May 17 release of the USTFCCCA national poll. The position is a season high for Arkansas. The Razorbacks are one of five teams from the SEC ranked this week, including top-ranked Florida, No. 3 LSU, No. 18 Ole Miss and No. 19 Georgia. Next week’s rankings will reflect only those declared and accepted into the championships.
NCAA West Preliminary Round entries(Arkansas only)200m3. Marek Niit, 20.447. LaShawn Butler, 20.66400m21. Ben Skidmore, 46.5824. Travis Southard, 46.6735. Neil Braddy, 47.08800m31. Leoman Momoh, 1:49.5539. Chris Bilbrew, 1:49.821,500m2. Duncan Phillips, 3:39.8710. Dorian Ulrey, 3:42.7624. Tom Cattin-Masson, 3:45.113,000m Steeplechase20. Rick Elliott, 8:53.635,000m25. Eric Fernandez, 13:54.3310,000m8. Eric Fernandez, 28.48.44110m Hurdles16. Caleb Cross, 13.78400m Hurdles43. Andrew Pennington, 52.204x100m Relay7. Caleb Cross, Neil Braddy, LaShawn Butler, Marek Niit (39.47)4x400m Relay5. Travis Southard, Marek Niit, Chris Bilbrew, Neil Braddy (3:06.29)High Jump15. Brede Raa Ellingsen, 2.16m16. Raymond Higgs, 2.15m17. Noah Kittelson, 2.15m39. Dwayne Golbek, 2.11mLong Jump1. Tarik Batchelor, 8.19m3. Raymond Higgs, 8.15mTriple Jump11. Tarik Batchelor, 15.85mDiscus42. Justin Holmes, 52.88m
Download: NCAA West Prelim schedule.pdf