FAYETTEVILLE – Gunnar Nixon and Andrew Irwin, two members of the 2011-12 recruiting class for the University of Arkansas men’s track and field team, won national titles this weekend at the New Balance Indoor Nationals meet in New York City. Nixon set the national high school record in winning the pentathlon while Irwin captured the top spot in the pole vault.
Nixon, a native of Edmond, Okla., totaled 4,307 points in the five-event competition, adding four points to the previous record of 4,303 points set by Donovan Kilmartin in 2003. During the course of the day, Nixon had marks of 8.03 in the 60-meter hurdles, 23-6.75 in the long jump, 47-11.75 in the shot put, 6-6.75 in the high jump and 2:37.00 in the 1,000 meters. Entering the final event, Nixon needed to clock a 2:37.31 to establish a new national record.
In the pole vault, Irwin was the only competitor in the field to get over the bar set at 17-3.75, a clearance that clinched his first prep national title. With the victory in hand, the Mt. Ida, Ark., native went on to take three attempts at 17-7, a would-be national high school record. Earlier this season, Irwin won the Arkansas state indoor meet with a successful jump at 17-4.5 at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.
Nixon and Irwin are part of the Razorbacks’ signing class for the 2011-12 season. In addition to Nixon and Irwin, that group includes Aaron Allen (McKinney, Texas), Kyle Dunn (Marion, Iowa), Anthony May II (Hoover, Ala.) and Devin Randall (Bartlesville, Okla.). The class includes the No. 1-ranked prep decathlete in 2010 (Nixon), top-ranked pole vaulter (Irwin) and second-ranked 400-meter hurdler (Dunn).