FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 15 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team will travel to Philadelphia, Pa., this weekend for the 2011 Penn Relays. The prestigious event will be contested April 28-30 at Franklin Field. Along with their individual entries, the Razorbacks are schedule to compete in six relay events.
"This is a big meet for us," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "Penn Relays is a fun meet. If there’s any track meet that has a bowl-game atmosphere, it’s the Penn Relays. There’s a lot of excitement around the stadium and we hope we’re able to take advantage of that energy to run well.
"We have a full slate of relays planned. I can’t say one is more stacked than the other but what we try to do is put together relays that can contend for a championship and we have a good enough team where we can do that in a number of different events."
The Razorbacks have collected 43 wagon wheels for their relay victories at Penn Relays. Arkansas’ last win at the annual event came in the 4xMile relay in 2009; the program has 20 wins in that particular event. The breakdown of the relay victories consists of the 4×100 (1), 4×200 (1), 4×400 (1), 4×800 (2), 4xMile (20), sprint-medley (2), distance-medley (15) and shuttle-hurdle (1). Arkansas has three Wall of Fame inductees at Penn Relays with 10 Athlete of the Meet honors spread among eight former student-athletes.
Entering the weekend, Arkansas has three top-10 national marks to its credit. Duncan Phillips owns the nation’s No. 2 time in the 1,500 meters with his 3:39.87 performance at Mt. SAC Relays two weeks ago. Eric Fernandez holds on to a top-10 spot in the 10,000 meters. The Razorback sophomore is ranked ninth at that distance. Raymond Higgs leads the team’s field efforts with the No. 7 national mark in the long jump.
At their last event, the Razorbacks picked up four wins at the wet, oft-delayed John McDonnell Invitational in Fayetteville with victories from Kevin Lazas in the decathlon, Caleb Cross in the 200 meters, Leomam Momoh in the 800 meters and Brede Raa Ellingsen in the high jump. In the process of winning the decathlon, Lazas set the school record with a total of 7,542 points.
For his performance in the 10-event competition, Lazas was named the SEC Freshman of the Week. He surpassed the previous mark of 7,266 points set by David Wehmeyer in 1983; the decathlon mark had been the oldest remaining record in the Razorbacks’ records book. With his point total, Lazas is tops among freshman in the SEC, second among freshman nationally, third overall in the conference and No. 14 overall in the NCAA.
In the April 26 release of the USTFCCCA Top 25, Arkansas is the No. 15 team in the country. The Razorbacks are one of seven teams from the SEC within the national poll, all of which are ranked inside the top 20. Along with Arkansas, the rankings include No. 2 LSU, No. 4 Florida, No. 11 Georgia, No. 14 Ole Miss, No. 18 Mississippi State and No. 19 Auburn.
The John McDonnell Invitational will be aired by Cox Sports Television on tape-delay May 1 at 11 a.m. (CT), May 3 at 3 p.m. and May 12 at 7 p.m. For more information and meet-day coverage, including interactive blog and live results, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: Notes 17_Penn Relays.pdf