Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas-Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
Track Hogs ranked No. 2 in outdoor
Arkansas' Marek Niit (left) and Akheem Gauntlett race to the finish line in the 100-meter dash during the 2012 Arkansas Spring Invitational track meet at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Following a national championship during the indoor season, Arkansas' men's track & field team will open the outdoor season ranked No. 2 behind Texas A&M in the USTFCCCA rankings.
The Razorbacks, which were ranked No. 1 from start to finish during the indoor season, have won the last two SEC outdoor titles and finished eighth at the NCAA outdoor championship last year. Defending national champion Florida is ranked No. 3 in the preseason.
Arkansas returns five athletes who are ranked in the top five of their events. Andrew Irwin, the two-time defending indoor pole vault champion, and Raymond Higgs (long jump) are ranked No. 1 in the preseason.
After winning their first SEC championship in 10 years during the indoor season and finishing fourth at the NCAA meet, the Razorbacks' women are ranked No. 12 in the preseason outdoor rankings. SEC foes LSU, Florida and Texas A&M are ranked ahead of Arkansas in the preseason poll.
Kansas, coached by former Arkansas runner and assistant coach Stanley Redwine, is ranked No. 1 in the women's rankings.
The Razorbacks open the outdoor season this weekend at the Texas State Quad meet in San Marcos and will host the Razorback Spring Invitational next weekend at John McDonnell Field. The SEC outdoor meet will be held at the University of Missouri in May and the NCAA Outdoor Championships will be held at the University of Oregon in June.