Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
Geopfert named track's top assistant again
Arkansas' Travis Geopfert was named national assistant coach of the year for the second consecutive indoor season.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas' Travis Geopfert was named the national assistant coach of the year Wednesday.
The recognition from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association is the second straight for Geopfert, who coaches the Razorbacks' jumpers and multi-event athletes. Geopfert is also Arkansas' recruiting coordinator.
"It's great to be recognized by your peers, but these awards really I think for myself or Coach (Chris) Bucknam, or the athletes are a tribute to the program," Geopfert said. "You have to have a successful program to get awards like this. It's great to be part of a winning team."
Geopfert's athletes had strong showings during the championship season. Arkansas' jumpers had two wins and two runner-up finishes last month at the SEC Championships, and Jarrion Lawson finished first in the long jump at the NCAA meet last weekend in Albuquerque, N.M.
"It's much a much deserved recognition," Arkansas coach Chris Bucknam said of Geopfert, who he coached while an athlete at Northern Iowa. "Last year I think it got overshadowed a little bit because I also got national coach of the year. Consistency is everything in our sport and Travis brings that to the table every day of the year, year-in and year-out. I'm really proud of him and there's no question he's one of the hottest young coaches in the country."
Lawson's jump of 27-6.5 was more than 15 inches farther than his previous career-best in a meet and only 1 1/2 inch shy of Erick Walder's school record in the event indoors. Lawson passed Olympic gold medalist Mike Conley for second place all-time in the event at Arkansas.
Lawson was the third long jumper to clear 27 feet in the event during Geopfert's five seasons with the Razorbacks.
"This is the most historic program in all of college sports, so to be able to help add to that history is a lot of fun for me," Geopfert said. "I grew up looking at Arkansas track & field, so to be a small part of that history is humbling."
In addition to Lawson, Kevin Lazas finished third in the heptathlon and Anthony May placed fifth in the triple jump among Geopfert's athletes at the NCAA meet.