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No. 3 Hogs set for NCAA Championships

BY ANDRES FOCIL
No. 3 Hogs set for NCAA Championships

FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 3 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team will compete this weekend at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. The national meet will be held March 11-12 at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium in College Station, Texas. Competition in the men’s field begins Friday at noon (CT) with the heptathlon.

The national meet will be streamed live by ESPN3.com beginning Friday at 3:55 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m. Additional video streams will be available at NCAA.com and AggieAthletics.com beginning Friday at 10 a.m. and Saturday at noon.

"We’re getting back to the level we want to be and the guys are doing a good job of focusing on this weekend." head coach Chris Bucknam said. "You can throw it up in the air because you cannot predict what is going to happen. We’ve got the guys and numbers so we have the ability to score some points, now we just have to go execute."

Arkansas collected 12 national qualifiers spread among nine individuals and two relays. Nine of the 12 participants came via an automatic qualifier while the remaining three are at-large selections. The Razorbacks are the only men’s team to qualify both its distance-medley and 4×400-meter relays.

The Razorbacks will be represented individually by LaShawn Butler and Marek Niit in the 200 meters, Neil Braddy and Ben Skidmore in the 400 meters, Dey Tuach in the 800 meters, Duncan Phillips in the mile, Tarik Batchelor in the long jump and triple jump, Raymond Higgs in the long jump and Kevin Lazas in the heptathlon. Tuach, Higgs and Lazas were Arkansas’ at-large additions.

The team enters the national championship meet with the top-ranked 4×400-meter relay team. The foursome of Braddy, Niit, Skidmore and Chris Bilbrew combined for a world- and NCAA-leading time of 3:05.13 at the SEC Championships. The Razorbacks will also run their distance-medley relay which currently owns the No. 6 time in the nation.

In the most recent release of the USTFCCCA national rankings, Arkansas remains the No. 3 team in the NCAA. This week’s rankings are based on Monday’s release of the national entries list. The Razorbacks are one of four SEC teams inside the top 25, along with top-ranked Florida, No. 2 LSU and No. 21 Alabama. With its strangle hold of the top three national spots, the SEC continues in the top spot of the conference index rankings, ahead of the Big 12 and Big Ten, respectively.

At the 2010 NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, the Razorbacks were represented by six individuals and its distance-medley relay. Arkansas finished the meet with a fifth-place team finish and collected 38 points behind national championship performances from Alain Bailey (long jump) and Dorian Ulrey (3,000 meters). All told, Arkansas finished the 2010 indoor season with nine All-America honors.

Since first competing at the NCAA Championships in 1975, the Arkansas men’s track and field program has racked up 19 national titles, the most recent of which came on its home track during the 2006 season. Individually, the Razorbacks have collected 54 event titles.

In addition to the video streams, fans can also follow the action with the interactive blog and live results at ArkansasRazorbacks.com. The NCAA Championships will be aired on tape delay Wednesday, March 16 at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

Download: NCAA men entries_03.07.pdf



Sports Category : Track & Field (M)