Razorbacks Head to South Carolina for SEC Trac
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas track and field squad heads to Columbia, S.C., looking for their fifth-consecutive conference outdoor title at the Southeastern Conference outdoor championships, May 10-13, at Weems Baskin Track and Field Facility on the University of South Carolina campus. The Hogs are looking for their 16th-straight SEC title and fifth SEC triple crown in school history.
“I guess that we are still the favorites,” UA head coach John McDonnell said. “We have got a chance but it is going to be a dogfight with Tennessee. I just hope that it does not come down to the mile relay like the indoor national championships did because we are not very strong in that event.”
The Hogs are taking 26 athletes to compete in 45 events at the SEC championships but will be without the services of jumpers Jason Ward and Ramon Washington and distance runner Andrew Begley. Sprinter Kevin Baker will compete for the Hogs but is still battling with a hamstring injury that has been nagging him since the Drake Relays.
“The guys that we are taking are good and healthy,” McDonnell said. “We will have to collect a lot of points in the 800 and up. We have three pretty good hurdlers, two high jumpers and we are still looking for Maurice Robinson to jump well. We also have the three pole vaulters that have a chance to score some points. We need people like that to step up and score some points that could make a difference in the long run if the meet is close.”
UA junior hurdler Sam Glover is the only Razorback setting out to defend his SEC individual title. Glover won the 400-meter hurdles last year finishing in 49.76. The only other current Razorback to have claimed an SEC outdoor individual title is Kenny Evans who was the 1998 high jump champion. Murray Link is the only other Hog that has won a conference individual title winning the 5,000 meters at the 2001 indoor conference championships.
With the SEC having seven of the top 10 teams in Trackwire’s top 25 poll this week including LSU who is ranked No. 1, the Razorbacks are expecting a battle for the conference title. Arkansas is currently ranked seventh in the poll and trail other SEC schools, Tennessee, Florida and Alabama, who are ranked four, five and six, respectively. The Hogs look to Tennessee to pose the strongest threat with their depth in the sprints and the field events.
“Tennessee is much improved,” McDonnell said. “They have a lot of sprinters and field events guys that can score some points for them. Hopefully, South Carolina, Florida and LSU will break up some of Tennessee’s points in the sprints.”
The SEC Championships begin on Thursday with the multi-events and concludes on Sunday.
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