FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - The No. 5 University of Arkansas men's track and field team will send 27 total qualifiers-25 individual and two relays-to the 2013 NCAA West Preliminary which will be contested May 23-25 at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas. The top 48 declared athletes were selected into individual events per region, while the top 24 relay teams declared per region also qualified.
The NCAA East Preliminary will be held the same weekend at Irwin Belk Track Stadium in Greensboro, N.C. Those who advance past the preliminary round will compete June 5-8 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. The top 12 from each region in each event, including relays, advance to the national meet.
Arkansas has a team-high five qualifiers at 800 meters, including two marks ranked within to the top five. Leoman Momoh and Ryan Thomas are seeded fourth and fifth with time of 1:47.74 and 1:48.35, respectively. The Razorbacks will also have Anthony Lieghio (No. 23, 1:49.35), Patrick Rono (No. 25, 1:49.50) and Tomas Squella (No. 30, 1:49.62) in the event. Momoh won the 800-meter title at last weekend's SEC Championships.
The team has four entries each at 400 meters and in the high jump. Akheem Gauntlett, the SEC runner-up at 400 meters, is Arkansas' top qualifier in the event with this time of 45.53 from the conference meet. He has the sixth-fastest time among West region entries. In the high jump, Anthony May II is ranked fifth with a season-best clearance of 2.18m/7-1.75.
May is one of two Razorbacks qualified in two individual events and is also scheduled to compete in the triple jump competition. Tarik Batchelor is Arkansas' other double entry with top-10 regional marks in both the long jump and triple jump. The Razorback senior has season-best jumps of 7.90m/25-11 and 15.93m/52-3.25, respectively. The long jump will also feature Jarrion Lawson (No. 10, 7.76m/25-5.5) and Raymond Higgs (No. 24, 7.55m/24-9.25).
In the long-distance events, Arkansas will be represented by Kemoy Campbell at 5,000 meters, Solomon Haile at 10,000 meters and Stanley Kebenei and David Flynn in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Campbell and Haile are both seeded fifth in their respective events, while Kebenei has the third-fastest time among West region runners.
The Razorbacks' remaining running-event entry is Caleb Cross (No. 6, 50.42) in the 400-meter hurdles.
Both Arkansas relays will compete at the NCAA West Preliminary having posted season-best times at the recently completed SEC Championships. The 4x100-meter relay team of Cross, Gauntlett, Lawson and Marek Niit recorded a time of 39.34, good for the third-fastest time in the region. The 4x400-meter relay is seeded fifth based on the 3:04.68 run by Gauntlett, Niit, Neil Braddy and Anton Kokorin last weekend.
Field-event entries are rounded out by Andrew Irwin in the pole vault and Jeff Woods in the javelin. Irwin has a season-best clearance of 5.65m/18-6.5, the No. 2 mark in the region. He is the two-time outdoor SEC champion in the event. In the javelin, Woods improved his regional seed with a personal-best throw of 69.01m/226-5 and a third-place finish at the conference meet.
Along with the accepted entries for next weekend's preliminary events, the list of decathlon qualifiers that will advance directly to the NCAA Championships was also released. Arkansas will be represented in the two-day, 10-event competition by Kevin Lazas (No. 16, 7,579 points) and Nathanael Franks (No. 17, 7,520 points). Lazas will be making his third appearance at the national meet while Franks is advancing for the first time.
NCAA West Preliminary Entries
6. Akheem Gaunlett, 45.53
19. Marek Niit, 46.49
40. Neil Braddy, 47.05
42. Anton Kokorin, 47.08
4. Leoman Momoh, 1:47.74
5. Ryan Thomas, 1:48.35
23. Anthony Lieghio, 1:49.35
25. Patrick Rono, 1:49.50
30. Tomas Squella, 1:49.62
5. Kemoy Campbell, 13:32.82
5. Solomon Haile, 28:56.92
6. Caleb Cross, 50.42
3. Stanley Kebenei, 8:40.23
47. David Flynn, 9:00.69
3. Cross/Lawson/Gauntlett/Niit, 39.34
5. Braddy/Kokorin/Niit/Gauntlett, 3:04.68
5. Anthony May II, 2.18m/7-1.75
11. Brede Ellingsen, 2.17m/7-1.5
20. Noah Kittelson, 2.15m/7-0.5
45. Dwayne Golbek, 2.10m/6-10.75
2. Andrew Irwin, 5.65m/18-6.5
3. Tarik Batchelor, 7.90m/25-11
10. Jarrion Lawson, 7.76m/25-5.5
24. Raymond Higgs, 7.55m/24-9.25
8. Tarik Batchelor, 15.93m/52-3.25
19. Anthony May II, 15.62m/51-3
15. Jeff Woods, 69.01m/226-5
NCAA Championships Entries
16. Kevin Lazas, 7,579 points
17. Nathanael Franks, 7,520 points