DES MOINES, Iowa – The No. 7 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team earned its first points Thursday of the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. Tarik Batchelor and Raymond Higgs finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the long jump to give the Razorbacks three points. The team also picked up two qualifiers in the 200 meters and one in the 1,500 meters. Kevin Lazas is currently tied for 10th in the decathlon with 6,378 points with two events to go.
"We picked up some good, tough points out of Tarik and Raymond in the long jump," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "They finished seventh and eighth but there wasn’t much separating those guys in the finals. Both pick up All-American honors and we’re proud of their effort in a tough field."
Having qualified for the finals of the long jump, Batchelor and Higgs unleashed their best jumps for the final three attempts of the competition. Batchelor finished with a day’s best of 26-0.75 (7.94m) which came on his fourth and sixth attempts of the event. Higgs rounded out the scoring for the Razorbacks with a jump of 25-9.5 (7.86m), good for the first top-eight national finish for the freshman jumper.
"We’re obviously very pleased with our three qualifiers for the finals," Bucknam said. "This puts us in a scoring position on the final day of the meet with LaShawn and Marek in the 200 and Dorian in the 1,500. Both of our guys in the 200 meters looked sharp in their races, and Dorian looked sharp, too, so I’m pleased with their efforts."
Marek Niit and LaShawn Butler picked up the Razorbacks’ first pair of qualifying efforts with their respective performances in the semifinals of the 200 meters. Running in heat one, Butler ran to second place and an automatic spot in the final with a personal-best time of 20.54. Niit followed with a personal-best effort of his own, crossing in 20.43 to secure his spot in the title race. Saturday’s final is scheduled for a 12:49 p.m. (CT) start.
The qualifications continued in the 1,500 meters with Dorian Ulrey winning heat two during the semifinal round. The Razorback senior led his heat across the line in a season-best time of 3:42.44. Ulrey will enter the final as the top qualifier. First on the track, Duncan Phillips finished ninth in his heat and 17th overall in a time of 3:50.61. He closes out his junior year with a season-best time of 3:39.87 back in April at Mt. SAC Relays.
In the first decathlon event of the day, Lazas won his heat and finished 17th overall in the 110-meter hurdles with a personal-best time of 15.29, good for 815 points toward his overall total. The competition then moved to the first of three consecutive field events, where the Razorback freshman had a day’s best mark of 132-9 (40.46m) in the discus, good for 674 points. Lazas posted a clearance of 16-0.75 (4.90m) in the pole vault to collect another 880 points.
Day three’s schedule for Arkansas is limited to competition for Brede Raa Ellingsen in the high jump. The Razorback sophomore is set to begin the event at 5:20 p.m. (CT). Day three of the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships will be televised by CBS College Sports at 6:30 p.m. and streamed lived at NCAA.com. Log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com for more information and continued meet coverage, including live results and interactive blog.
NCAA Championships – Day 2 Results
Decathlont10. Kevin Lazas – 6,378 points (thru eight events)17. 110mH – 15.29, 815 points12. Discus – 40.46m, 674 points3. Pole Vault – 4.90, 880 points
Long Jump7. Tarik Batcheor – 7.94m 8. Raymond Higgs – 7.86m
200 Meters3. Marek Niit – 20.43 (Q)5. LaShawn Butler – 20.54 (Q)
1,500 Meters1. Dorian Ulrey – 3:42.44 (Q)17. Duncan Phillips – 3:50.61