FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas track and field is ranked No. 13 in the outdoor preseason rankings, it was released by the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Wednesday. Also released are the RunnerSpace E-8 individual rankings.
Florida State sits atop the USTFCCCA rankings. LSU ranks second and Tennessee rounds out the top three. Arkansas (No. 13) is one of six SEC schools ranked in the top 25. Florida is No. 4, Auburn is seventh and Georgia sits at No. 11.
The Track Hogs are led by 2008 NCAA Indoor Triple Jump Champion Nkosinza Balumbu, a four-time All-American and four-time SEC champion in the event, and sprinter J-Mee Samuels, who wrapped up his 2008 indoor season with a third-place finish in the 200 meters and a fifth-place finish in the 60 meters at the NCAA Championships.
Peter Kosgei returns for the outdoor season and ranks seventh among returning 3,000-meter steeplechasers. Shawn Forrest, Tyler Hill and James Strang lead a strong group of distance harriers with the additions of Alex McClary, Andy McClary and four freshmen to the group. The McClary’s competed for Arkansas during the 2008 indoor season and will be making their Razorback outdoor debuts at Texas Relays.
In the jumps, Balumbu is joined by two-time All-American long jumper Alain Bailey, jumper/sprinter and 2007 All-American Mychael Stewart, indoor national qualifier Daniel Quinn and high jumper Brent Rosson. Freshman pole vaulter Spencer McCorkel will also be making his Razorback outdoor debut this season.
Arkansas looks to return its strong 4×100-meter relay from the 2007 season. Samuels, Stewart and Cedric Zellner ran various legs of the relay en route to qualifying for the NCAA Championships.
In the RunnerSpace E-8 rankings, Samuels sits at No. 5 in the 100 meters. The Razorback 4×100-meter relay ranks No. 6. Balumbu holds the No. 3 spot in the triple jump rankings.
Arkansas track and field will open the outdoor season at Texas Relays, April 2-5, in Austin, Texas and at the Stanford Invitational, April 4-5, in Palo Alto, Calif.