FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A goal of winning the conference track and field team title is an ever-present journey for the Razorbacks, who have claimed 22 SEC Indoor Championships while placing runner-up on the six other occasions since Arkansas joined the league nearly 30 years ago.
This weekend, the No. 10 Razorbacks seek to claim the team trophy in College Station, Texas, when the 2020 title is decided inside Gilliam Stadium at Texas A&M University on Feb. 28-29.
“We’re focused on winning an SEC title and this week we’re all zoomed in,” said Arkansas men’s assistant coach Doug Case. “As a team we’ve prepared well, and the guys feel like we are in it to win it.
“That’s been our goal all year and have planned for this and are pushing towards that effort. It’s something we need to do and want to do. I can assure you the team is focused on that this weekend. We’re going to go after it.”
Arkansas, who has been the team runner-up the past two seasons, returns a pair of individual champions in distance runners Cameron Griffith (3,000m) and Gilbert Boit (5,000m). Griffith was also a silver medalist in the mile and the Razorback distance medley relay claimed silver as well. Returning bronze medalists include Laquan Nairn from the triple jump along with the 4×400 relay.
“In looking at our team we’re very diversified from sprints, jumps, hurdles, distance and multi-events,” noted Case. “We are a team that covers almost every single event out there. When we win, we win as a team, putting it all together from the 5k all the way down to the 60m. That’s how a team like Arkansas comes in and wins a SEC title.”
This season Griffith leads the SEC in the 3,000m and ranks third in the mile. In the 5,000m, the Razorbacks have the top three entries in Emmanuel Cheboson, Boit and Matt Young. Depth in the 3,000m has Arkansas holding six of the top 12 times. In the jumps, Nairn ranks third in the triple jump and fourth in the mile.
Razorback quarter-milers, the top 400m group in the country, sport seven of the top 20 times in the conference. They are led by freshman Jeremy Farr, who defeated a field that included the current world leader during the Tyson Invitational, along with Jalen Brown.
With a 46.05 Farr ranks third in the SEC while Brown, who recently set an indoor best of 46.27, is sixth. The rest of the 400m group, who rank among the top 20 in the SEC, includes Hunter Woodhall, James Milholen, Nick Hilson, and Lesley Mahlakoane.
Kristoffer Hari, the Danish national record holder in the 60m, ranks third in the conference at 6.62. Meanwhile, the Razorbacks have the top distance medley relay time in the SEC while the 4×400 crew has posted the second-best time.
“It’s the SEC and everybody is good from the top to the bottom of the field,” stated Case. “Every team has a good program and are pushing to win this team title. LSU is coming off a great year, Florida is the defending champion, Texas A&M is at home and we look really good. I think this could turn out to be a four-team battle on the men’s side.”
Kieran Taylor ranks sixth in the conference 800m with a 1:49.43 while Carl Elliott, III, and Tre’Bien Gilbert rank sixth (7.76) and seventh (7.79) in the SEC 60m hurdles from career best times they registered this season.
The Razorbacks will have a four-man crew competing in the heptathlon, which includes Markus Ballengee, Etamar Bhastekar, Tyler Brendel and Daniel Spejcher.
The SEC Indoor Championships will be streamed on SECN+ on Friday and Saturday, then re-aired Sunday on ESPN2.
Friday, Feb. 28 – SECN+ 5:10 p.m. to 9:40 p.m. (CT)
Saturday, Feb. 29 – SECN+ 3:55 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. (CT)
Sunday, March 1 – ESPN2 7 p.m. (CT)