Old home week for Sategna as Hogs head to New Mexico

By: Bob Holt
Published: Friday, February 1, 2019
Hurdles are stacked on Friday, April 27, 2018, at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.
Photo by Ben Goff
Hurdles are stacked on Friday, April 27, 2018, at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Mario Sategna, an assistant coach for the University of Arkansas men's track and field team, will be back home for the New Mexico Classic this weekend.

Sategna, who coaches the field events, has a group of Razorbacks competing at the meet in Albuquerque, N.M., about 170 miles northwest of where he grew up in Bloomfield, N.M.

"I'll have a lot of family come down and support the Razorbacks for sure," Sategna said. "Between my parents and my brother, sister, cousins, we'll probably have 10 or 12 that will make the trek down -- and they love track and field.

"We'll get the guys some green chilies while we're out there, too."

Arkansas redshirt junior Gabe Moore and senior Derek Jacobus -- who posted two of the top four marks nationally in the heptathlon at the Razorback Invitational last week-- will long jump and run the 60-meter hurdles and 400 at the New Mexico meet.

Moore scored 5,865 points last week and leads the nation. Jacobus scored 5,656 and ranks fourth.

Moore and Jacobus won't compete in another heptathlon until the SEC Championships, which will be hosted by Arkansas at the Randal Tyson Center Feb. 22-23.

"I was excited to see how Gabe and Derek competed this past weekend in the hep," Sategna said. "They left a lot of points on the board, but still had solid performances.

"They put some great marks, but I think they both know they can put on another 100 points, maybe 150 at the SEC meet, and get to the national meet."

Arkansas senior Erich Sullins, who ranks 11th nationally in the weight throw with a school record of 69 feet, 2 inches, will look to improve on that mark at the New Mexico Classic.

"We're definitely tying to get Erich to continue to move up on the weight throw," Sategna said. "We're looking to get over 70 feet, maybe 71. Anything around 72 feet will for sure get in [the NCAA meet], which he's more than capable of throwing."

Also competing for Arkansas will be sophomore Laquan Narin, who will compete in the long and triple jumps.

While Sategna is a new coach for the Razorbacks -- replacing Travis Geopfert, who went to Tennessee -- he's familiar with Arkansas and Coach Chris Bucknam and assistant Doug Case, who coaches the sprinters.

Before coming to Arkansas, Sategna coached at Texas for 15 years as an assistant and then head coach.

"At Texas we didn't have an indoor facility, so we made the trek up here a number of times," Sategna said. "I've known Coach Bucknam and Coach Case for 20-plus years."

Sategna said it's also been a good transition with the Razorbacks he's coaching.

"The student-athletes have really bought into what we're trying to do, and that's the most important thing," he said. "They're responded really, really well."

Sports on 02/01/2019

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