NEW YORK, N.Y. – The No. 11 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team picked up two victories Saturday to close out competition at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in New York. Duncan Phillips and Dey Tuach ran to wins in the 800 meters and mile, respectively, to lead the Razorbacks to a fourth-place finish with 52 points in the team race.
"I thought we did a good job coming off a pretty emotional meet last weekend," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "Our kids handled the chaos of the meet pretty well and that’s one reason we like to come to this meet. With all that being said, we had some good performances."
The Razorbacks came away with a 1-3 finish in the championship section of the 800 meters with Phillips and Bryan Cantero, respectively. Phillips used a strong move on the final back stretch to pick up the victory in a personal-best time of 1:48.47, more than a second faster than his previous best. Cantero was third with a time of 1:49.55 in his first collegiate race at the distance. Based on national times entering the weekend, Phillips’ time would be No. 5 in the NCAA and Cantero would come in as the 12th fastest in the country.
Tuach notched a victory of his own with a 4:08.42 clocking in the championship section of the mile. He paced a 1-4-5 finish for the Razorbacks in the event with Drew Butler and Omar Abdi rounding out the top-five standings. Butler closed with a time of 4:10.37, just ahead of Abdi who crossed in a time of 4:11.87.
The 4×400-meter relay closed out the weekend competition with a second-place performance. The foursome of Marek Niit, Ben Skidmore, Chris Bilbrew and Neill Braddy combined for a time of 3:09.08, a season best for the Razorbacks.
"Duncan showed some athleticism and it was good to see his foot speed today," Bucknam said. "He hasn’t run like that since his sophomore year so it was good to see him come out of his shell with a smile on his face.
"I also want to mention the 4×4. This was something we lacked last year and Coach Case has done a good job of bringing life back into that event for us. We had a freshman anchor in Neill Braddy and he did a phenomenal job. He really showed the kind of competitor he is running step-for-step with probably the best 400-meter runner in the country (Tabarie Henry of Texas A&M)."
In the championship division of the 3,000 meters, Thomas Cattin-Masson ran to a time of 8:08.57 to post a second-place result. The race marked his collegiate debut in the 3K after running the mile at last weekend’s Razorback Invitational. Teammate Rick Elliott finished in 10th position in the race, crossing in a time of 8:35.14.
Cobi Hamilton finished 10th in the timed finals of the championship section 200 meters. Running in heat two of three in the final round, he crossed in a time of 21.77. He qualified for seventh overall with a 21.69 in the preliminary heats. Maudrecus Humphrey also competed in the 200-meter prelims and clocked a time of 22.54 in his second race of the season.
In their first relay action of the weekend, the Razorbacks had an eighth-place overall finish in the 4×200-meter relay race. The foursome of Caleb Cross, Humphrey, Hunter Bourke and LaShawn Butler combined for a time of 1:29.08, good for third in their heat which included the winning team from Charleston Southern.
The Razorbacks return to their home facility next weekend for the Tyson Invitational. The two-day event will be held Feb. 11-12 at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. Competition begins Friday with the afternoon schedule at noon while the evening session getting under way at 6 p.m. (CT). For more home meet information, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.