EUGENE, Ore. – The No. 2 Arkansas men’s track and field team finished in third place at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore.
The Razorbacks finished the four-day meet with 46.5 points and capped their weekend with a national runner-up finish in the 4x400-meter relay. It marked Arkansas’ highest NCAA outdoor finish under fifth-year coach Chris Bucknam.
“I’m proud of my team for the way they competed today,” Bucknam said. “It looked dim after Thursday and we came back and did a great job on Friday and Saturday and that Never Yield saying is what it’s all about for us. We are going to be back here and our goal is to win an outdoor national championship. We think we have the ball rolling for that and we are going to keep trying.”
Coupled with its NCAA finish outdoors, Arkansas ends its 2012-13 campaign with top-10 national finishes from all three aspects of the program. The Razorbacks won the NCAA Indoor Championships in March for the program’s 41st overall national title, and last fall, Arkansas ran to a 10th-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Louisville, Ky. At the conference level, the Razorbacks claimed its second-consecutive SEC Triple Crown.
Arkansas’ first points Saturday came from its 4x100-meter relay team of Caleb Cross, Jarrion Lawson, Akheem Gauntlett and Neil Braddy. The Razorbacks passed the baton around the track in a time of 39.49, good for fifth place and four points toward the team’s total. The foursome qualified for the final with a season-best run Wednesday of 39.25, the No. 5 relay performance in school history.
Braddy, Cross and Gauntlett were back on the track to close the meet along with Anton Kokorin in the 4x400-meter relay. The Razorbacks posted a second-place finish in the event final with a season-best time of 3:02.89, which moves the relay quartet into fourth place on the Arkansas all-time performance list.
“I had six races this weekend but I knew it had to be done for us to contend for a national championship,” Cross said following the meet. “It’s my senior year and it’s what I had to do for the team. We came close, but I’m still glad about the way it turned out. I’m just happy to be a Razorback right now.”
Kemoy Campbell was the team’s lone individual scorer Saturday, running to a fifth-place finish in the event final of the 5,000 meters. After three days of watching the meet until his race, Campbell added four points to the team’s total with a time of 13:47.70. The finish is his second top-five NCAA showing of the year to go along with his runner-up finish at 3,000 meters at the NCAA indoor meet.
Senior Tarik Batchelor completed his Razorback career Saturday with competition in the triple jump. He was forced into adjusting his technique—jumping off the opposite leg—to overcome an injury. Batchelor finished the day in 17th place overall.
With the collegiate season now complete, several Razorbacks will go on to represent their countries this summer at national meets with hopes of qualifying for the World Championships in Moscow, Russia. The USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be held June 19-23 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.