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Arkansas men favored to win championship

by Bob Holt | June 7, 2023 at 2:12 a.m.
Arkansas coach Chris Bucknam watches Saturday, April 22, 2017, during the John McDonnell Invitational at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas men's track and field team won its first national championship outdoors in 1985 in Austin, Texas.

Razorbacks Coach Chris Bucknam hopes Arkansas can win its latest national title outdoors in Austin this week.

Arkansas is ranked No. 1 going into the 2023 NCAA Outdoor Championships, which begin today in Texas' Myers Stadium.

The Razorbacks have 18 athletes with 18 entries competing in 11 events, including national leaders in freshman Jaydon Hibbert (triple jump), senior Wayne Pinnock (long jump) and senior Ayden Owens-Delerme (400-meter hurdles).

"I feel really good about our team," Bucknam said. "There are no guarantees, but we tried to play the long game from the start of the season, and this is the culmination of that."

By playing the long game, Arkansas' coaches limited the workload for their athletes during the season with the goal of peaking for the NCAA Championships.

It's a strategy that worked well when the Razorbacks won the NCAA Indoor Championships in March in Albuquerque, N.M., where they scored 63 points with Georgia second with 40.

Track & Field News projects Arkansas to win the NCAA Outdoor title with 69 points, followed by Georgia (49), Florida (48) and Texas Tech (44).

Arkansas won its last NCAA Outdoor title in 2005, which is also when the Razorbacks had their last of 10 sweeps of national championships indoors and outdoors in the same year.

"There are a lot of great teams here," Bucknam said. "All you need to do is have one mishap, and everything closes in on you immediately."

The 1985 Razorbacks won the NCAA Outdoor title with 61 points with Washington State second with 46. Arkansas won the NCAA meet in Austin 1992 with 60 points and Tennessee taking second with 46 1/2.

"Austin has good vibes for the Razorbacks," Bucknam said.

Men's competition will begin today including Pinnock in the long jump final. Other Razorbacks competing in finals today are Patrick Kiprop in the 10,000 meters and Jordan West and Roje Stona in the shot-put.

Arkansas' No. 3-ranked women's team, which won the NCAA title indoors, begins competition on Thursday when junior Britton Wilson, the national leader in the 400 meters and 400-meter hurdles, will run the semifinals.

Track & Field News projects No. 1 Texas to win the women's title with 88 points, followed by No. 2 Florida (54) and Arkansas (53).

Print Headline: Arkansas men favored to win championship


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