FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 13 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team will head to Austin, Texas, this week for the 84th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. The prestigious annual event will be held April 6-9 at Mike A. Meyers Track Stadium. Competition begins Wednesday and concludes Saturday evening with the 4×400-meter relays finales.
"We’re in the grind of the season right now," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "We have a little bit of fun coming up this weekend with the Texas Relays. It gives us the opportunity to put some relays out there to see where we are in preparation for the rest of our season."
Texas Relays marks the third meet of the season for Arkansas, which began its outdoor campaign in Austin for a triangular meet with Texas and UCLA. The field of teams for Texas Relays is scheduled to include 12 teams ranked in this week’s USTFCCCA national poll, six of those inside the top 10.
Arkansas’ first relay will take to the track Thursday with the 4×800 event. Friday’s schedule will include the 4×100, 4×1,500 and sprint-medley relays. On the final day of competition, the Razorbacks will compete in the 4×200 and distance-medley relays.
Individually, Eric Fernandez is scheduled to get things going for the Razorbacks Wednesday during the ‘B’ section of the 1,500 meters. Caleb Cross and Andrew Pennington will compete in the 110-meter hurdles with Pennington doubling up to run the 400-meter hurdles along with Travis Southard. Set to participate in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Rick Elliott and Layne Nixon round out the team’s individual running efforts.
Tarik Batchelor, Raymond Higgs and Justin Holmes will begin field competition Friday; Batchelor and Higgs will compete in the long jump while Holmes will throw the discus. Higgs will join Dwayne Golbek and Noah Kittelson in the high jump on Saturday.
In its program history, Arkansas has collected 65 Texas Relays titles, including last season’s win in the 4×1,500-meter relay. The Razorbacks were named the Most Outstanding Team during the 1987 event, while three Hogs-Randy Stephens (1982), Joe Falcon (1988) and Melvin Lister (1999)-have been named Most Outstanding Performer.
Dating back to the 1999 season, the Razorbacks have won 12 consecutive 4×1,500 titles at Texas Relays. The streak was kept alive last season by the foursome of Omar Abdi, Michael Chinchar, Scott Gillespie and Patrick Russell which clocked a winning time of 15:26.43. All told, Arkansas has run to 24 wins in the event, having first won the race in 1951.
In the first regular-season USTFCCCA top-25 poll of the 2011 outdoor campaign, Arkansas sits at No. 13 in the country, up one spot from the team’s preseason ranking. The SEC has an NCAA-leading nine teams inside this week’s rankings. Along with the Razorbacks, the poll features top-ranked Florida, No. 5 LSU, No. 6 Mississippi State, No. 16 Auburn, No. 20 South Carolina, No. 22 George, No. 23 Ole Miss and No. 24 Alabama.
To follow this week’s action at Texas Relays, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com for an interactive blog and live results. The interactive blog for the event will begin with Friday’s afternoon session.
Download: 2011 Texas Relays schedule.pdf