SEC INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS:

Razorbacks look for return to their championship days

By: Bob Holt
Published: Friday, February 28, 2020
Arkansas coach Chris Bucknam speaks Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, during the Razorback Invitational in the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas coach Chris Bucknam speaks Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, during the Razorback Invitational in the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas men's track and field team has won 22 out of a possible 28 SEC indoor titles since joining the conference for the 1991-92 school year.

But the Razorbacks' last won the SEC championship indoors in 2017. By Arkansas' lofty standards, that qualifies as a title drought.

At a glance

SEC INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS

WHEN Today and Saturday

WHERE Gilliam Indoor Stadium, College Station, Texas

DEFENDING MEN’S CHAMPION Florida

DEFENDING WOMEN’S CHAMPION Arkansas

LIVE COVERAGE The meet will be streamed on SEC Network-Plus from 5:10 p.m.-9:40 p.m. today and from 3:15 p.m.-7:15 p.m. Saturday, then re-aired Sunday on ESPN2 at 7 p.m.

Before finishing second to Alabama in 2018 and second to Florida in 2019, the Razorbacks hadn't gone more than one year without winning an SEC indoor championship.

Arkansas hopes to return to the top of the conference when the SEC Indoor Championships are held today and Saturday in College Station, Texas.

"That's obviously been our goal all year," Razorbacks assistant coach Doug Case said of bringing home another SEC trophy. "We've planned for this and are pushing towards that effort.

"It's something we need to do and want to do and I can assure you that the team is focused on that this weekend. So we're going to go after it."

Case, who coaches the sprinters, said the Razorbacks have the depth to score in several events.

"You look at a team like us, we're very diversified from sprints, jumps, hurdles, distance," Case said. "We're a team that covers almost every single event out there on the track and on the field.

"When we win, we win as a team, I like to say. We can put it together from the 5,000 meters all the way down to the 60. That's how a team like Arkansas comes in and wins an SEC title."

The No. 10-ranked Razorbacks figure to compete with No. 2 LSU, No. 3 Florida and No. 13 Texas A&M for the SEC title.

"It's the SEC and everybody is good from the top to the bottom of the field," Case said. "Every school has a good program and is pushing to win this team title.

"LSU is coming off a great year, Florida is the defending champion, Texas A&M is at home and we look really good. I think this could turn out to be a four-team battle on the men's side."

The Razorbacks will be looking for big points in the 5,000, where they have the SEC's top three marks this year with junior Emmanuel Cheboson, senior Gilbert Boit and redshirt sophomore Matt Young.

Arkansas senior Cameron Griffith is the SEC leader in the 3,000 and ranks third in the mile.

Junior Kris Hari and freshman Jeremy Farr rank third for the Razorbacks in the 60 and 400, respectively. Arkansas has the SEC's top-ranked distance-medley relay team and No. 2-ranked 1,600 relay.

Senior Laquan Nairn ranks third in the triple jump and fourth in the long jump.

"Laquan is very talented and he's a guy that can do a lot of good stuff," Case said. "I've noticed he's very focused this year. His demeanor has changed, the way he approaches the meets, the way he approaches his practices.

"I think he's a guy that can go out there and have a really good showing in both the long jump and the triple jump. We need him to do that and he's fully prepared to do that."

Sports on 02/28/2020

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