Arkansas is a front runner in many areas such as dentistry with its expertise in dental implants but now it is also taking over the world of sports. Propelled by five event titles, including two from senior Dorian Ulrey, and two runner-up finishes, No. 6 Arkansas Razorback men’s track and field won the team title at the 2010 SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships, at the Randal Tyson Track Center, on Sunday.
The Razorbacks won the team title with 123 points, Florida was second with 119 points and LSU rounded out the top three with 108.5 points. The four-point margin is the closest since Arkansas topped Tennessee, 137-130, in 2002.
Arkansas won its 29th conference indoor team title, its 17th SEC indoor team title, its 94th conference team title overall (cross country, indoor and outdoor) and its 49th SEC team title overall (cross country, indoor and outdoor).
“What an incredible effort by this team,” head coach Chris Bucknam said. “We had so many people step up in so many ways; this really was a team effort. We needed every piece of the puzzle this weekend. Florida really made it tough. They mounted a great fight.”
“Dorian Ulrey, Alain Bailey and Scott MacPherson, our seniors, really took this team on their backs this weekend. We also had a lot of young guys like Caleb Cross in the hurdles, Tarik Batchelor in the jumps and Drew Butler in the 800 meters and on the DMR that competed like veterans. This is the weekend to do it and I couldn’t be more proud of all our guys.”
Arkansas’ final event win of the day came in the distance medley relay. The Razorbacks fell behind on the opening 1,200-meter leg but made up ground on every leg following. Freshman Drew Butler handed to senior Dorian Ulrey in sixth place for the 1,600-meter anchor leg. Ulrey remained patient and slowly passed the runners ahead of him. He made his big move on the pack with two laps to go and never looked back.
Ulrey, in his second race of the day and his fourth in the last two days, crossed the finish line in first with a time of 9:48.92. He was joined by junior Michael Chinchar (1,200-meter leg), sophomore Andrew Pennington (400-meter leg) and Butler (800-meter leg). The quartet won Arkansas’ third-straight SEC DMR title and its 13th since 1994.
“I felt I had the wheels to go and I went,” Ulrey said. “This is my last SEC Indoor Championship as a Razorback and I really wanted to get a title for a couple of the younger guys.”
In his first race of the day, Ulrey won his second-straight SEC title in the mile. He clocked a time of 4:02.56 and led a 1-4-8 finish for Arkansas in the event. Ulrey was awarded the commissioner’s trophy for the most points scored by an individual student-athlete (22.5). With his 3,000-meter title from Saturday night, Ulrey is now the owner of five SEC individual titles, indoors and out, and also has one as the anchor of the DMR. Ulrey won Arkansas’ 11th SEC mile title.
Chinchar was fourth in the mile final with a time of 4:07.75. Sophomore Rick Elliott was eighth in 4:10.56. Freshman Omar Abdi was 10th at 4:14.79.
Senior Scott MacPherson won his second SEC individual title overall and his first in indoor track when he took the tape in the 5,000 meters. He clocked a time of 13:49.57 and paced a 1-5-7-8 finish for Arkansas in the event. MacPherson won the Hogs’ first 5K title since Peter Kosgei in 2006 and Arkansas’ 15th SEC 5K title overall.
“This was my last chance to win an SEC Championship as a Razorback and I went for it,” MacPherson said. “I heard coach telling me it was time to go, so I took off. I knew I needed to score points for the team to give us a boost in the team standings.”
Freshman Eric Fernandez was fifth in 14:05.45, sophomore Lane Boyer was seventh in 14:08.60 and freshman Solomon Haile was eighth in 14:18.76.
Freshman Drew Butler and junior Chris Bilbrew picked up fourth and fifth-place finishes, respectively, in the 800 meters. Butler clocked a time of 1:50.75 and Bilbrew crossed the line in 1:50.80.
In the sprints events, freshman Caleb Cross was fourth in the 60-meter hurdles with a personal-best and NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 7.91. Junior LaShawn Butler finished seventh in the 200 meters with a time of 21.17. Sophomore Ben Skidmore was ninth in the 400 meters at 47.55. Arkansas’ 4×400-meter relay, Skidmore, Bilbrew, Cross and freshman Hunter Bourke, combined for a season-best time of 3:11.51 and a seventh-place finish.
Sophomore Tarik Batchelor finished fourth in the triple jump. After his runner-up finish in Saturday’s long jump, his best triple jump of the day measured 52-7.5, a personal best and an improved NCAA provisional qualifier.