No. 11 Men's Track and Field heads to Razorback Invitational
Jan. 24, 2013
The No. 11-ranked Men's Track and Field team will head to Fayetteville, Ark. this weekend for the Razorback Team Invitational.
The two-day scored meet will feature 11 teams, six of which are ranked in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) top 25, including No. 1 Arkansas, No. 3 Florida, No. 6 LSU, No. 13 Arizona and No. 21 Florida State.
The Invitational begins at 1 p.m. CST Friday and continues at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The Longhorns return to Arkansas' Randal Tyson Track Center after a narrow loss to the Razorbacks (85-78) in a dual meet earlier this month, UT's first showing of the 2013 indoor season.
"Everyone has had that first competition under their belts," head coach Bubba Thornton said of his team's last outing against top-ranked Arkansas. "We're more on track now and I'm feeling that we're going to see some better or more consistent performances across the board this weekend."
The Razorback Team Invitational is the first competitive opportunity of the season for UT's heptathletes. Sophomore Jake Wohlford is the veteran in the event, having earned a fourth-place finish at last year's Big 12 Championships, and freshman Basil Fares will make his first appearance in the heptathlon. Senior and four-time All-American Isaac Murphy was 10th in the heptathlon at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships, but he has just one season of outdoor eligibility remaining.
"We're anxious to see him experiencing his first heptathlon, and then we'll see where we can grow from that," Thornton said of Fares. "It will be exciting for him to get out there and feel what that event is about."
Four-time first team All-American Keiron Stewart, coming off a strong first-place showing at the Arkansas dual meet, will take to the track for the Longhorns in the 60-meter hurdles, an event where he is presently ranked fourth nationally.
Texas will feature a strong contingent of middle distance and distance runners, including junior Ryan Dohner, who presently owns the third-ranked time in the 5,000 meters, and will compete this weekend in the 3,000. Senior transfer Joe Stilin will compete in the mile. Stilin's time of 4:06.29 at the Arkansas Dual meet earned him a ninth-place national ranking in the event. He also has the fourth-best time nationally in the 5,000.
"I'm anxious to watch Stilin run," Thornton said. "I really think he's a different runner than he was earlier in the year. He's much, much more fit."
Similarly, the Longhorns will bring a strong group of throwers to Fayetteville, including veterans like senior Hayden Baillio, who currently ranks eighth nationally in the shot put and sophomores Will Spence and Blake Jakobsson, as well as junior transfer Clint Harris.
Johannes Hock, a multi-event performer from Germany who joined the team this semester along with Harris, will get his first taste of collegiate track and field. He will compete in the shot put, 60-meter hurdles and pole vault.
"We'll put Hock in a few events to give him a taste of the indoor season and how it works here in the U.S.," Thornton said. "I think he's going to be a really good add for us. He's very bright technically and we're excited to make him part of this."
Texas is also looking to make a strong showing in the distance medley relay. Thornton hopes that the team of Patrick McGregor, Zack Bilderback, Kyle Thompson and Stilin will run a solid time to put itself in position to qualify for the NCAA Indoor meet. If they do, Thornton said that would free up his personnel to focus on other events later on this season.
Nevertheless, Thornton said he is simply looking for improvement from each of his athletes this weekend and he will be using the Razorback Invitational as an opportunity to assess their individual confidence levels.
The meet will be scored in a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 format. The top nine field competitors will advance to the finals. In the 60 meters and the 60-meter hurdles, the top 16 preliminary times will advance to the semifinals, with the top eight times advancing to the finals. All other running events will be seeded according to time.
This will mark the second of four trips to Arkansas this season for the Longhorns. They will also send competitors to the Tyson Invitational (Feb. 8-9) and the Razorbacks are serving as host to the NCAA Indoor Championships (March 8-9).
TEXAS ENTRIES - RAZORBACK TEAM INVITATIONAL (All times Central)
Friday, Jan. 25
Saturday, Jan. 26