Razorbacks counting on depth as edge against conference's best

By: Bob Holt
Published: Friday, February 24, 2017
Arkansas senior Clive Pullen celebrates Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, after winning the triple jump competition during the Tyson Invitational in the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas senior Clive Pullen celebrates Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, after winning the triple jump competition during the Tyson Invitational in the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships are being held in Nashville, Tenn., for the first time but the Arkansas Razorbacks' men's team hopes the meet has a familiar result.

The Razorbacks will be going for their 22nd SEC indoor title in 26 tries since joining the conference for the 1992 season when they compete today and Saturday at Vanderbilt University's facility.

John McDonnell's University of Arkansas at Fayetteville teams won 15 of 17 SEC indoor titles between 1992 and his retirement after the 2008 season.

McDonnell said this week he's proud of how his successor as coach, Chris Bucknam, has continued the winning tradition with six SEC indoor titles in eight years.

Bucknam, whose Razorbacks won the 2013 NCAA indoor title, said the program's primary goal continues to be winning SEC championships.

"We always make winning the SEC title our No. 1 priority like Coach Mac did," Bucknam said. "That's never going to change."

Bucknam said Arkansas' strength is its depth.

"We're a true team," he said. "We can come in score in a lot of events. We're not one-dimensional.

"It's all hands on deck and hopefully we can get through this meet with a victory and come out unscathed."

Arkansas has two defending SEC champion in Clive Pullen (triple jump) and Ken LeGassey (high jump).

Other key scorers for the Razorbacks include Kenzo Cotton in the 60 and 200 meters Jack Bruce in the 3,000 and distance medley relay, Austen Dalquist in the mile and distance medley relay, Andrew Ronoh in the 3,000 and 5,000, Obi Igbokwe in the 400, Carlton Orange in the 800 and Travonn White and Andreas Trajkovski in the long jump.

The No. 2 Razorbacks are among eight SEC teams ranked in the top 12 nationally, including No. 1 University of Florida, No. 4 University of Georgia, No. 5 Texas A&M University and No. 8 Louisiana State University.

"I see Florida and Texas A&M and us vying for the championship just by what's on paper," Bucknam said. "But the conference is deeper than I can ever remember since I've been here.

"Ole Miss is making noise and the same with Georgia. You've got LSU in the mix.

"It's a meat grinder and every year this meet gets harder and harder to win."

Sports on 02/24/2017

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