FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 12 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team returns to action this weekend, Jan. 28-29, by hosting the Razorback Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The meet on the Razorbacks’ home track is set to feature eight teams ranked in the latest release of the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national poll.
Events begin at 11 a.m. (CT) on both days of the event. The first 250 fans in attendance will receive a pack of Razorback Silly Bandz. This weekend marks the third competition of the 2011 indoor campaign for the Razorbacks.
"After a week off, we’re turning our attention to the Razorback Invitational," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "This is going to be a great track meet. There won’t be a better meet in the country this weekend. We’re really pleased that we attract that kind of attention to bring those teams in to Fayetteville. It’s all due to our facility and the way we run our meets so we’re looking forward to this weekend."
In the Jan. 25 release of the USTFCCCA Top 25, Arkansas is the No. 12 team in the nation, one spot higher than its position in the preseason poll. This marks the first in-season rankings of the year. The Razorbacks are one of five Southeastern Conference teams ranked, all of which are inside the top 15 nationally. Including Arkansas, the Razorback Invitational group of teams includes Arizona, No. 25 Baylor, No. 9 Florida State, Iowa, No. 1 LSU, No. 11 Nebraska, No. 19 Oklahoma State, No. 8 Stanford, TCU and No. 18 Texas.
With two events of the season down, Tarik Batchelor owns two top-five event marks. The junior field standout is the nation’s top triple jumper with a mark of 54-2.5 and has the No. 3 mark in the long jump with a mark of 26-2.25. Both of Batchelor’s jumps are NCAA automatic qualifiers. In the 400 meters, Neill Braddy is just outside the top 10 with his time of 47.58, good for 14th nationally.
Arkansas’ 4×400-meter relay team of Braddy, Chris Bilbrew, Marek Niit and Ben Skidmore has clocked a time of 3:12.62, also the 14th-best time in the nation this season. The distance-medley quartet of Tom Cattin-Masson, Andrew Pennington, Duncan Phillips and Dey Tuach has the 12th-fastest time in the NCAA at 10:03.37.
Friday’s competition begins at 11 a.m. with the multi events. Field events are scheduled to start at 3 p.m. with the shot put and running events begin at 6 p.m. with the 60-meter preliminary heats. To follow the weekend’s action at the Razorback Invitational, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com for a video stream, interactive blog and live results.