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Hogs take on nation?s best at NCAA meet

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Hogs take on nation?s best at NCAA meet

DES MOINES, Iowa – The No. 12 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team heads to Des Moines, Iowa, to compete in this week’s 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships. The meet begins Wednesday and runs through Saturday at Drake Stadium. Overall, the Razorbacks have 11 entries at the national meet, the fifth-largest group in the NCAA. Action on day one includes the long jump, semifinal rounds of the 400 meters, 400-meter hurdles and 4×100-meter relay and start of the decathlon.

"We had a good week of preparation for the NCAA meet," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "We’ve had a good season with the SEC triple crown and have a lot of positive momentum coming into this week. I think the guys are all focused on the task at hand and we’re ready to go."

In addition to the team’s entries in the 4×100 and 4×00 relays, Arkansas will be represented by eight individuals in nine events. The Razorbacks will have Akheem Gauntlett and Neil Braddy at 400 meters, Duncan Phillips at 1,500 meters, Caleb Cross in the 110- and 400-meter hurdles, Raymond Higgs in the long jump and Kevin Lazas, Gunnar Nixon and Terry Prentice in the decathlon.

Five of the Razorbacks’ top-10 national performers will compete at the NCAA Championships with Higgs (8.36m/27-5.25) ranked No. 1 in the long jump, Cross (50.30) at No. 9 in the 400-meter hurdles, Lazas (7,778 points) at No. 10 in the decathlon, along with their third-ranked 4×400-meter relay (3:02.47) and No. 10 team in the 4×100 relay (39.23).

Last year it was Marek Niit, this year three Razorbacks are slated to compete in three events at the NCAA Championships. Braddy and Gauntlett are scheduled to compete at 400 meters and with both Arkansas relays, while Cross qualified for both hurdle events and as the lead leg for the 4×100-meter relay.

The Razorbacks have won 10 NCAA outdoor team titles with the last coming during the 2003 season. Arkansas has won 48 NCAA event titles; Josphat Boit was the team’s last national champion with his win at 10,000 meters in 2006. Last season, Niit and Dorian Ulrey were the national outdoor runner-up at 200 meter and 1,500 meters, respectively.

Arkansas enters the NCAA Championships as the No. 12 team in the country with the release of the May 29 USTFCCCA national rankings. The Razorbacks continue to be one of six ranked teams from the SEC. This week’s rankings are based on team’s national qualifiers for the NCAA Championships.

The final day of the NCAA Championships will be televised by ESPNU, beginning at 11 a.m. (CT). The ESPNU commentary team will include Trey Bender (play-by-play), Larry Rawson (analyst) and Jill Montgomery (reporter). The entire meet will be streamed live through ESPN3.com, with the exception of Wednesday which will be streamed at NCAA.com.

Live results will be available online at NCAA.com and FlashResults.com, and accessible via a link from the Championships Central page on the Drake Athletics website, GoDrakeBulldogs.com. Quote, notes, photos and event information will also be available at the host’s site.

In addition to video and live results, meet coverage for the Razorbacks will include an interactive blog which will begin 15 minutes before the start of competition each day. For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.

NCAA Championships ScheduleWednesday, June 6Noon – Decathlon (day one)5:30 p.m. – 4x100m (semifinal) 5:30 p.m. – Long jump (prelim/final) 6:45 p.m. – 400m (semifinal) 8:15 p.m. – 400m hurdles (semifinal)

Thursday, June 711:30 a.m. – Decathlon (day two)6:15 p.m. – 1,500m (semifinal) 6:50 p.m. – 110m hurdles (semifinal) 8:05 p.m. – 4x400m (semifinal)

Friday, June 85:35 p.m. – 400m hurdles (final)6:55 p.m. – 400m (final)

Saturday, June 911:03 a.m. – 4x100m (final)11:17 a.m. – 1,500m (final)12:07 p.m. – 110m hurdles (final)12:40 p.m. – 4x400m (final)

Where to WatchNCAA.com (Wednesday)ESPN3.com (Thursday-Saturday)ESPNU (Saturday, 11 a.m.)

Download: Notes 18_NCAA Championships, MTR.pdf



Sports Category : Track & Field (M)