FAYETTEVILLE – For the first time this season, the No. 11 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team will hit the road with this weekend’s New Balance Collegiate Invitational. The meet will be held Feb. 4-5 at the Armory Track & Field Center in New York. The two-day event marks the Razorbacks fourth competition of the 2011 indoor campaign. Competition begins Friday at 9:50 a.m. (CT).
This weekend’s field of participants is set to represent nine teams ranked nationally. With Arkansas, the field is also scheduled to feature No. 18 BYU, No. 1 Florida, No. 2 LSU, No. 13 Oklahoma, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 15 Texas, No. 3 Texas A&M and No. 4 Texas Tech. Tennessee is another Southeastern Conference team scheduled to compete this weekend.
Last weekend at the Razorback Invitational, the team came away with two NCAA automatic-qualifying marks and a school record. The distance-medley relay team of Bryan Cantero, Chris Bilbrew, Dey Tuach and Duncan Phillips combined for a second-place performance in a time of 9:30.85 to secure their spot at the NCAA Championships. Tarik Batchelor notched his second auto qualifier in the triple jump with a mark of 53-4.25, good for third place. In the heptathlon, Kevin Lazas turned in a third-place finish with a school-record 5,509 points.
For his efforts which included a runner-up result in the invitational 800 meters, Tuach was named the SEC Male Runner of the Week. It marked the first such honor of his career and the first Razorback selection of the season.
In this week’s release of the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) national poll, Arkansas moves up one spot for the second consecutive week. The Razorbacks began the season as the 13th-ranked team in the country. There are five teams representing the SEC among the nation’s best with Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia and LSU.
The Razorbacks have four student-athletes among the NCAA top-10 event rankings. Having already qualified for the NCAA Championships in both, Batchelor is second and fifth in the triple jump and long jump, respectively. Tuach owns the nation’s fifth-best time in the 800 meters at 1:48.70, Marek Niit is sixth nationally in the 400 meters at 46.76 and Eric Fernandez holds the No. 10 spot in the 3,000 meters at 7:59.30.
Following their weekend in New York, the Razorbacks return to Fayetteville to host the Tyson Invitational, to be held Feb. 11-12 at the Randal Tyson Track Center. Results and free webcast will be available at ny.milesplit.com. For fans wishing to follow the action of the New Balance Collegiate Invitational, visit this weekend’s interactive blog at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.