Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Walt Beazley)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - With a 2013 schedule highlighted by scored meets and head-to-head competition, the University of Arkansas men's track and field team finishes the regular season as the No. 1 dual team in the country. The Razorbacks tallied a 3-1 record with dual wins over Texas and LSU during the indoor season and Oregon during the outdoor season. The dual rankings are released by Track & Field News.
In its indoor season opener, Arkansas won nine event titles on its way to an 85-78 win over the Longhorns at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The Razorbacks' multiple winners during the meet included Akheem Gauntlett, Raymond Higgs and Anton Kokorin. The win over Texas was Arkansas' fourth in a row in the indoor dual series that began in 2010.
The following week, the Razorbacks turned in a second-place finish at the Texas A&M Triangular in College Station, Texas. During the meet which included LSU and host Aggies, Arkansas collected five event wins along with a meet-record effort in a 5.27m/17-3.5 clearance by Kevin Lazas in the pole vault. The Razorbacks finished the meet with 99 points, topping LSU and positioned behind Texas A&M.
Arkansas' outdoor campaign featured a road trip to Eugene, Ore., for a head-to-head matchup with the Ducks as part of the Oregon Relays. The meet, which featured the top-two teams in the dual rankings, came down the final event and Gauntlett sealed the team's win by anchoring the 4x400-meter relay to victory. Overall, the Razorbacks won 10 of the 19 events and handed Oregon its first dual-meet loss since the 2000 season.
"With a score at the end of a meet, we're able to grade our program better," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "At the end of a meet in which we've kept score, our fans can walk away knowing whether we won or lost. I think this important for the casual fan who may not see the difference between Kemoy Campbell, for example, running an 800 versus running a 5K, but they will know whether or not the Razorbacks won."
To be eligible for listing, a team must compete in at least one dual meet, defined by Track & Field News as a scored meet of four or fewer teams. Rankings are compiled for a combined indoor and outdoor season, with outdoor competition given more weight. Teams are also rewarded for an extensive and/or challenging dual-meet schedule.
In other competition that didn't count toward its dual ranking, Arkansas had a pair of first-place team performances at the indoor Razorback Invitational and outdoor John McDonnell Invitational. At the indoor meet, Arkansas scored 124 points to finish atop the 11-team field that featured six ranked teams. At the six-team, McDonnell Invitational, the Razorbacks tied for the win with 137 points. Along with Arkansas, the meet featured four teams ranked in the top-25 national poll.
Arkansas is ranked No. 4 in this week's U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national poll. The Razorbacks are one of seven SEC teams ranked this week, all of which are positioned inside the top 20. The SEC Outdoor Championships are up next for Arkansas and will be held May 9-12 at Audrey J. Walton Stadium in Columbia, Mo.
Track & Field News Dual Rankings (Final, top 10)
1. ARKANSAS (3-1)
2. Oregon (3-1)
3. Texas A&M (4-1)
4. UCLA (3-0)
5. Arizona State (2-0)
6. Texas (0-1)
7. LSU (1-3)
8. Nebraska (2-0)
9. Washington (1-3)
10. California (3-0)