Nate Allen is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Allen is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has authored three books about the Razorbacks.
Hogs, ’Horns have another score to settle
NWA Media/ANDY SHUPE -- Arkansas men's track and field coach Chris Bucknam watches from the edge of the track Saturdray, Jan. 26, 2013, during the Razorback Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks will host the Tyson Invitational this weekend.
FAYETTEVILLE - It’s been 23 years since Arkansas and Texas last clashed in the Southwest Conference.
Yet it still seems whenever the Razorbacks and Longhorns clash in any sport that old passions boil as they did all those years ago on the fields and courts of the Southwest Conference.
Expect them to rise again Friday night when the Arkansas men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams host the Texas men’s and women’s teams in a dual meet at the Randal Tyson Indoor Track.
Field events start at 6 p.m., running events begin at 7 and the 1,600-meter relays are schedule to cap the night at 9:15.
“This meet on Friday night will be a fun, fan-friendly meet,” said Chris Bucknam, Arkansas’ men’s coach. “A short program and not an all-day affair in any way, shape or form.” All four teams competing have the stuff to post some times and marks that could hold up as qualifiers for the NCAA Indoor meet scheduled for March 14-15 in Albuquerque, N.M. However, it’s the scored team competition that will be emphasized Friday night.
“We have a little rivalry going with Texas,” Bucknam said of their annual indoor dual. “They are the Big 12 outdoor champion and a quality opponent.” The Longhorns are ranked 15th nationally.
The Razorbacks, ranked No. 1 nationally, are the reigning NCAA and SEC Indoor champions, the 2012-2013 SEC cross country/indoor/outdoor triple crown champions and the SEC cross country champion last autumn.
National meets and dual meets often don’t correlate, but Bucknam said track should broaden its scope to encompass both.
“It was no different when we went to Oregon last spring and won the dual meet on the last event,” Bucknam said. “It doesn’t have to be an SEC Championship or NCAA Championship to keep score and have a great effort. I think over the years we lost some of our fan base because they figured nothing was going to happen until the SEC meet.
“I think Arkansas and Texas are leading the way on changing that.
I think we will be a better team because of that.”
Arkansas Coach Lance Harter’s seventh-ranked women’s team will hold its first-ever dual meet against Texas, which is ranked No. 1.
“As a coach you are probably not very smart scheduling the No.
1 team in the nation,” Harter said.
“We hope to go event to event and keep it as close as possible. It will be an interesting challenge.”
It’s a challenge that Harter probably would have preferred last year, when since-graduated record-setting All-American Regina George anchored the Razorbacks’ 4 x 400 relay.
“If it comes down to the mile relay, last year I would feel real good about it,” Harter said. “This year I think Texas has a great chance to set the college record.”
Sports, Pages 14 on 01/15/2014