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NCAA events awarded to Arkansas

NCAA events awarded to Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas and Razorback Athletics will play host to the 2012 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Regional Championship and the 2013 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships, it was announced by the NCAA on Friday. The events will be held at Barnhill Arena and the Randal Tyson Track Center, respectively.

In 2012, Arkansas will host a gymnastics regional for the third time in school history. Fayetteville was the site of the NCAA South Central Regional in 2006 and 2009 with the Razorbacks advancing to the NCAA Championship both times.

"We’re excited about hosting regionals again," co-head coach René Cook said. "We have great fans, support staff and an outstanding facility for the championship. A lot of schools would like to host. To be hosting for the third time in seven years is an honor and we look forward to competing in Barnhill for a chance to advance to the national championship."

In 2006, No. 18 Arkansas finished second behind No. 3 Florida, and ahead of No. 9 UCLA, No. 30 Illinois, No. 42 Illinois-Chicago and No. 49 Southeast Missouri. In 2009, No. 10 Arkansas won its first regional title by finishing first ahead of No. 4 Stanford, No. 16 Michigan, No. 25 Arizona, No. 31 Arizona State and No. 27 Southern Utah. Arkansas went on to finish No. 5 in the nation in 2009 and No. 12 in 2006.

"This will be the third time for us to host, which is good for our program," co-head coach Mark Cook said. "We appreciate the NCAA recognizing what we have here and we’re looking forward to it."

Arkansas’ gymnastics program has competed for only eight seasons, but in that time the Razorbacks have earned seven straight NCAA regional bids and advanced to the NCAA Championship four times, including three straight years and four times in the last five seasons. In 2010, Arkansas finished second at the NCAA West Regional at UCLA and ended the year No. 11 in the nation. The Razorbacks have ranked among the nation’s top 15 six consecutive years.

The Randal Tyson Track Center will host the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships for the 11th time in 2013. Since the facility’s opening in 2000, Arkansas has hosted the event 10 times, including nine straight seasons and 10 of the last 11 championships. In 2009, the event was held at Texas A&M’s Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium and will be back in College Station, Texas again in 2011. Boise State will host the event during the 2012 season.

"We are always excited to host the NCAA Championships on our campus," women’s track and field head coach Lance Harter said. "The track and field fans in Fayetteville are the best around and we have a world-class facility to host the best track and field athletes in the world."

The Razorbacks last hosted the championships in March, 2010. The women’s team was represented by four individuals in three individual events and also competed in the 4×400-meter and distance medley relays. Eight student-athletes earned 11 All-America honors.

On the men’s side, eight student-athletes earned nine All-America honors. Senior Alain Bailey in the long jump and senior Dorian Ulrey in the 3,000 meters picked up NCAA titles in their respective events. Arkansas was represented by six individuals in six individual events and competed in the distance medley relay.

"Hosting the NCAA Championships is great for our team, the UA community and our fans," men’s track and field head coach Chris Bucknam said. "It’s also great for recruiting. We always welcome another chance to show off our phenomenal facility. NCAA track and field student-athletes compete at the highest level and this is another chance for our fans to see some exciting competition."

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