EUGENE, Ore. – The No. 4 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team is set to begin competition at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships on Wednesday. The Razorbacks will compete for the NCAA Outdoor Title June 11-14 at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.
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WHAT TO WATCH The No. 4 Razorbacks qualified 15 individuals for the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships. In mid-distance/distance, Patrick Rono and Tomas Squella will represent the Razorbacks in the 800-meter, while Stanley Kebenei will double-up in the 5,000-meter and steeplechase. After earning the top-finishing mark in long jump at the NCAA West Preliminary, Raymond Higgs will compete for a title in both the long jump and triple jump.
Anthony May will also compete in both events, providing key scoring opportunities for Arkansas. Also in field events, senior Noah Kittelson and freshman Ken LeGassey will provide two scoring chances for the Razorbacks in high jump. Andrew Irwin will compete for the pole vault title on Wednesday, the first scoring event of the meet.
The men’s 4×100-meter relay (Eric Hawkins, Jarrion Lawson, Omar McLeod, Neil Braddy) and 4×400 (McLeod, Travis Southard, Eric Janise and Braddy) will also represent the Razorbacks in the relays. Kevin Lazas will return to the track for the first time since Texas Relays to compete for the NCAA Title in the decathlon.
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“Well it’s all about execution now. I think our guys are ready – we’ve had a good week of practice and we’ve been here a couple of days getting used to our surroundings. It’s just going to be a matter of executing what we have been training for all year. We have a physical presence on this track, we have a lot of Razorbacks in a lot of different events. We just have to go in there and try to put some points on the board. For our prelim events, it’s critical that we get to the finals. Everything we do at this stage of the game, you have to be 100 percent.” – Head Coach Chris Bucknam
“This is the last track meet for my career – there’s no better way to go out than compete at the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field. Having some older guys on the relay team, combined with younger talent, helps both sides. The older guys have been in their shoes and can add a sense of calmness because it’s nerve-wracking when you’re up against the toughest competition in the nation. You just have to trust your training, trust your coaches and get the job done. When you’re a University of Arkansas athlete, that’s what you do.” – Travis Southard, senior, 4×400 relay
“It’s great to come out to a track like this as a freshman. To come out my first year and know I have three more shots at this is a great feeling. And to make it to Eugene on a PR-tying jump at the West Preliminary makes it even more special.” Ken LeGassey, freshman, high jump