Track Hogs preseason No. 1

By: Matt Jones
Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2013
University of Arkansas runners Akheem Gauntlett (left) and Neil Braddy return from the 4x400 relay team that won the NCAA championship in 2012.
Photo by Michael Woods
University of Arkansas runners Akheem Gauntlett (left) and Neil Braddy return from the 4x400 relay team that won the NCAA championship in 2012.

— Arkansas' men are ranked No. 1 in the preseason indoor track & field rankings released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

The Razorbacks, which begin the indoor season Friday with a dual meet against No. 3 Texas in Fayetteville, are the defending Southeastern Conference champion. Arkansas is one of three SEC teams ranked in the top four nationally in the preseason, alongside No. 2 Florida and No. 4 Texas A&M.

Coach Chris Bucknam's programs have won five consecutive conference championships in cross country and track & field dating to the 2011 outdoor season.

Arkansas returns 18 all-Americans from last year's indoor team, including national champions in two events - Andrew Irwin (pole vault) and 4x400 relay members Neil Braddy, Akheem Gauntlett and Marek Niit. Gauntlett was also national runner-up in the 200 meters last season.

The men's indoor team is one of two Arkansas teams ranked No. 1 nationally by at least one publication entering the spring semester. The Razorbacks' baseball program was ranked No. 1 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper last month.

In women's rankings, Arkansas' indoor team is ranked No. 7 in the preseason poll by the USTFCCCA. Their season also begins Friday with a dual meet against Oklahoma State.

Arkansas will will host both the SEC and NCAA Indoor Championships this year at Randal Tyson Track Center.

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