Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Robert Black)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - For the sixth-straight week, the University of Arkansas men's track and field team sits atop the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national poll. The Razorbacks have held on to their No. 1 ranking since the preseason poll was released prior to the start of the 2013 indoor campaign. Arkansas next competes Feb. 22-24 at the SEC Indoor Championships in Fayetteville.
Based on this week's rankings, the top-three teams in the country and five of the top 20 will be competing at this weekend's meet at the Randal Tyson Track Center. As the top-ranked team in the USTFCCCA poll, Arkansas is followed by SEC mates Florida at No. 2 and Texas A&M at No. 3. The league is also represented in this week's release by No. 16 LSU and No. 19 Ole Miss.
The Razorbacks also own 10 top-10 marks on the NCAA Division I Indoor Qualifying List. In the triple jump, Tarik Batchelor is tied for the top spot with his jump of 16.38m/53-9 at the Tyson Invitational.
Caleb Cross is ranked second in the 60-meter hurdles, Raymond Higgs is second in the long jump, Kevin Lazas is second in the heptathlon, Jarrion Lawson is fourth in the long jump, Patrick Rono is fourth at 800 meters and Akheem Gauntlett is sixth at 200 and 400 meters.
"To win in the SEC, you need the big hitters," head coach Chris Bucknam said during his Tuesday press conference. "You need to have guys that can go out there and perform on a national level. There's no question that we have some really good athletes on our team and we look forward to seeing them perform on a big stage."
In the relay events, Arkansas' 4x400-meter relay is ranked third in the NCAA with its performance of 3:06.26 at the Razorback Team Invitational. The team's distance-medley relay is fifth in the country at 9:35.50, a time established at the Armory Collegiate Invitational.
The 2013 SEC Indoor Championships begin Friday at 1 p.m. (CT) with the multi-event competitions. Action on Saturday and Sunday starts at 10 a.m. with the weight throw at Walker Pavilion and noon at the Randal Tyson Track Center. For tickets, visit the Razorback Ticket Center on Razorback Road by Baum Stadium, log on to the online ticket office or call 800/982-HOGS (4647).
ESPN3.com will carry the SEC Indoor Championships with coverage set for Saturday and Sunday. Commentary duties will be handled by Dwight Stones (play-by-play), Larry Rawson (color analyst) and Lewis Johnson (sideline reporter). ArkansasRazorbacks.com will stream Friday's events with early Saturday and Sunday coverage. A tape-delay television broadcast of the conference meet will air March 13 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
The official Twitter hash tag of the 2013 SEC Indoor Championships is #SECTF.