FAYETTEVILLE -- The Arkansas Razorbacks' men's and women's teams will have a combined 33 entries in 20 events at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on June 7-10 in Eugene, Ore.
"We're going to need a good-sized plane to get the men and women to Eugene," said Lance Harter, coach of the Razorbacks' defending national champion women's team. "It's great to be taking such a large contingent for Arkansas."
The No. 2-ranked University of Arkansas, Fayetteville women's team has 17 entries in nine events, including 13 athletes who advanced at the NCAA West Preliminaries in Austin, Texas, over the weekend.
Arkansas' four heptathletes -- No. 2-ranked Taliyah Brooks, No. 3 Payton Stumbaugh, No. 6 Leigha Brown and No. 8 Kelsey Herman -- already had qualified for nationals and didn't have to compete in Austin.
Leading the Arkansas qualifiers in Austin were pole vaulters Lexi and Tori Weeks and Desiree Freier, along with sprinter Daina Harper in the 400 meters and 400 and 1,600 relays; Nikki Hiltz in the 1,500; and Taylor Werner in the 5,000.
"We've absolutely overjoyed," Harter said. "We had more qualifiers than I think we ever anticipated. "We didn't have any mistakes where somebody that was supposed to qualify didn't. We didn't have any injuries.
"Knock on wood, we're ready to go to nationals."
Harter said No. 1-ranked Oregon remains the favorite to win the women's team title despite having its 400 relay team disqualified in Austin because of an illegal exchange and losing sprinter Hannah Cunliffe to a hamstring injury.
"Oregon had some mishaps, but they still have so much firepower," Harter said. "But I think we're going there with a lot of momentum."
Arkansas' No. 7-ranked men's team has 16 entries in 11 events for the NCAA Championships, including 14 who advanced in Austin. Decathletes Derek Jacobus and Gabe Moore already were qualified for Eugene and didn't have to compete at the West Prelims.
Leading the Razorbacks' qualifiers in Austin were triple jumper Clive Pullen, a two-time NCAA champion; Kemar Mowatt, ranked No. 2 nationally in the 400 hurdles; and Kenzo Cotton in the 100, 200 and the 400 relay.
"I thought the weekend was outstanding for us," said Chris Bucknam, coach of the Arkansas men's team. "I feel like we've got the wind in our sails now."
Three All-Americans -- seniors Cale Wallace and Ken LeGassey, and junior Alex George -- failed to advance for the Razorbacks.
Wallace, who has been slowed by a calf injury, didn't finish high enough in the 3,000 steeplechase. LeGassey, who missed the SEC meet because of a hamstring injury, no-heighted in the high jump.
George became ill during the week, Bucknam said, and wasn't able to finish the 5,000. He also injured his ankle during warm-ups.
"Alex gave it his best shot but had absolutely nothing in the tank," Bucknam said. "It's unfortunate, because he's a guy we thought could score some points for us at the national championships."
Bucknam said he felt especially bad for Wallace and LeGassey, who competed for Arkansas for the last time.
"Those two seniors have been great leaders for us," Bucknam said. "I feel grateful they were Hogs. We're going to miss them."
Bucknam said No. 1 Texas A&M -- led by Fred Kerley, who ran an NCAA-record 43.70 in the 400 in Austin and anchors the Aggies' national-leading 1,600 relay -- is a heavy favorite to take the men's title, but he believes Arkansas will be among the contenders.
Headed to Eugene
Here are the athletes for the Arkansas men’s and women’s teams who will compete at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on June 7-10 in Eugene, Ore.
100 Meters Jada Baylark, Kiara Parker
400 Meters Daina Harper
1,500 Meters Nikki Hiltz, Therese Haiss
5,000 Meters Taylor Werner, Abby Gray
400-Meter Hurdles Damajahnee Birch
400-Meter Relay Baylark, Payton Stumbaugh, Harper and Parker
1,600-Meter Relay Ceara Watson, Birch, Sunkietra McCallister, Harper
Pole Vault Lexi Weeks, Tori Weeks, Desiree Freier
Heptathlon Taliyah Brooks, Stumbaugh, Leigha Brown, Kelsey Herman
100 Meters Kenzo Cotton
200 Meters Cotton, Roy Ejiakuekwu, Josh Washington
400 Meters Obi Igbokwe
800 Meters Carlton Orange
5,000 Meters Jack Bruce
400-Meter Hurdles Kemar Mowatt, Travius Chambers
400- Meter Relay Ejiakuekwu, Mowatt, Washington, Cotton
1,600-Meter Relay Rhayko Schwartz, Jamarco Stephen, Mowatt, Igbokwe
Long Jump Harrison Schrage, Andreas Trajkovski
Triple Jump Clive Pullen
Decathlon Derek Jacobus, Gabe Moore
Sports on 05/29/2017
Print Headline: Razorbacks see 33 book Oregon trip