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Olympic sports garner national spotlight

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Olympic sports garner national spotlight

FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas is garnering national attention for the success of its Olympic sports programs.
Eight Razorback sports are included in the nation’s top 25 in their respective national polls this week making the University of Arkansas the only Division I school in the country to boast nationally-ranked programs in baseball, gymnastics, men’s and women’s golf, swimming and diving, women’s tennis and men’s and women’s indoor track and field. "We are proud of the continued success of our Olympic Sport programs at the University of Arkansas," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. "As we enter the post-season for several of our winter sports, our student-athletes have put themselves in a position to compete for Southeastern Conference and NCAA team and individual championships. Our spring sports are also off to a great start and we look forward to following their success throughout the semester. As a program, we remain committed to fielding an all-sports program and helping our more than 460 student-athletes succeed in athletic competition, in the classroom and in the community."Arkansas’ track programs are leading the way in the national polls this week. The Razorback men’s indoor track team is ranked No. 3 in the nation while the women’s indoor track team is ranked No. 4 in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association polls. Both teams will travel to College Station, Texas this weekend to compete in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.The Razorback gymnastics team continues to climb the national rankings and is ranked No. 12 nationally in this week’s GymInfo national rankings. Arkansas has topped the 196 point mark in three-consecutive meets including wins over No. 1 Florida, Illinois-Chicago and No. 27 West Virginia. The gymnastics team wraps up the regular season this weekend with a dual at Denver before competing in the SEC Championships in Birmingham, Ala., on March 19.Arkansas’ baseball team is off to a hot start posting a 10-1 record in its first 11 games of the 2011 season. The Razorbacks are ranked No. 14 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll after series wins over Delaware State, Utah and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Arkansas is also ranked in two other national polls coming in at No. 15 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll and No. 18 in the Collegiate Baseball national rankings. The Diamond Hogs will take to the road for the first time this season this weekend when they travel to San Diego State for a four-game series. The Razorbacks open SEC play at Auburn on Friday, March 18.The Razorback women’s tennis team is ranked No. 14 this week after posting a 11-4 start to the spring. Arkansas made an impressive run in the ITA National Indoor Championships including upsetting No. 4 Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. Of the Razorbacks’ four losses this season, three have come to teams ranked in the top five in the nation including losses to No. 1 Stanford, No. 5 California and No. 1 Florida. Arkansas will take a swing through Mississippi this weekend taking on the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Ole Miss Rebels on Friday and Sunday, respectively.On the links, Arkansas is also making a quality national showing. The women’s golf team is ranked No. 16 and the men’s golf team comes in at No. 17 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Collegiate Team rankings. The women are coming off a fifth-place finish at the Gator Invitational and will compete at the LSU Invitational in Baton Rouge, La., this weekend. The men’s golf team is fresh off a comeback win at the prestigious John Hayt Invitational, the second team victory for the Razorbacks this season. They will look to carry that momentum into this weekend’s Seminole Intercollegiate in Tallahassee, Fla.Ranked No. 24 in the latest College Swimming Coaches Association of America poll, the Arkansas swimming and diving team is gearing up for the NCAA Championships. The Razorbacks have been ranked in the top 25 in each of the five national polls this season. The Razorbacks posted a 9-2 dual record this season and finished first at the Purdue Invitational. Arkansas’ divers will compete in NCAA Zone Diving this weekend in Austin, Texas before the swimmers take the pool for the NCAA Championships in Austin the following weekend.



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