FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 13 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team defeated No. 15 Texas, 97-72, Friday evening in a dual meet at Randal Tyson Track Center. The Razorbacks secured the meet win with victories in 12 of the 16 events, including an NCAA automatic-qualifying performance by Tarik Batchelor in the long jump.
"What I was looking for today had nothing to do with performance," head coach Chris Bucknam. "I was looking for them to smell the finish line and come together as a team. We haven’t really been together as a team since last June with this being our second meet together. We’re in the early part of our season with a lot of training. We have a lot of sore guys out there but basically what I was looking for was a bit of camaraderie and chemistry and I saw that today."
For the second time in as many weeks, Batchelor secured a spot at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship, this time in the long jump with a mark of 26-2.5. He also won the triple jump Friday, turning in a jump of 51-6.25 to pace Arkansas’ effort in the field events. Last weekend at the season opener, Batchelor posted an auto and NCAA-leading mark of 54-2.25 in the triple jump.
The Razorbacks picked up the first win of the meet when Justin Holmes took home the top spot in the weight throw with a toss of 52-10.25, an inch longer than runner-up Jacob Thormaehlen of Texas. Holmes’ mark is a personal best. Brandon Heeger picked up a point for Arkansas with a fourth-place finish (43-10.5) in his season debut.
Raymond Higgs earned his first win in Cardinal and White with a first-place effort in the high jump. He tied with Texas’ Jamal Wilson for clearance at 6-10.75 but had one fewer miss during the competition and was awarded the top spot.
The Longhorns pulled to within two points after taking first and second in the shot put but Duncan Phillips raced to a win in the 1,000 meters to cushion Arkansas’ lead, 30-25. He crossed in a time of 2:22.30. Bryan Cantero made his track debut with a third-place finish (2:23.35) in the event. Dey Tuach pushed Arkansas’ lead to eight with a victory in the mile and a time of 4:08.71.
Neill Braddy, in his Razorback debut, and Ben Skidmore had a 1-2 finish, respectively, in the 400 meters. Braddy clocked in a 47.58 while Skidmore was second with a time of 47.77. At event’s end, Arkansas held a 48-40 lead on the scoreboard.
Texas used a pair of first-place finishes in the pole vault and 60 meters to close to within two points again. The momentum turned quickly back in favor of the home team with consecutive top-two sweeps in the next three individual events.
Drew Butler (1:52.06) and Chris Bilbrew (1:52.36) started the trend in the 800 meters. LaShawn Butler and Marek Niit finished 1-2 in the 200 meters with times of 21.36 and 21.74, respectively. In the 3,000 meters, Solomon Haile and Eric Fernandez dominated the field. The two Razorbacks crossed together, more than six second ahead of the next competitor.
In the distance-medley relay, the foursome of Thomas Cattin-Masson, Andrew Pennington, Tuach and Phillips extended Arkansas’ streak on the track. The Razorbacks closed out the meet with a victory in the 4×400-meter relay. Skidmore, Bilbrew, Braddy and Niit combined for a time of 3:12.62.
After a weekend away from the track, Arkansas returns to competition Jan. 28-29 for the Razorback Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The two-day event is scheduled to feature several of the nation’s top teams. For more details and continued coverage, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: Arkansas-Texas Dual_Final Results.pdf