Arkansas sweeps SEC indoor titles
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Andrew Irwin cleared a career-best 18 feet, 4½ inches to win the pole vault, Arkansas teammate Tarik Batchelor won the triple jump at 54-2 3/4 and the Razorbacks swept the team titles Sunday in the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships.
The Razorbacks finished with 152½ points for their seventh SEC indoor men's title in the last eight years and 19th overall since joining the conference in 1992. Florida was second at 117.
The women's competition came down to the final event, with Arkansas extending a one-point lead in the 1,600-meter relay when Regina George, Sparkle McKnight, Gwendolyn Flowers and Chrisuna Williams pulled away from LSU and the rest of the field. The Razorbacks finished with 116½ points, five more than LSU.
"It was a feeling where if you want this bad, you need to go for it, and the fact it was at home lifted up the spirits," said George, who anchored the Arkansas relay. "I couldn't be more excited that it was my senior year and it was at home to come away with the SEC title."
LSU's Kimberlyn Duncan won the 60 in 7.24 second and the 200 in 22.54. With the Lady Tigers trailing Arkansas going into the last event, Duncan was inserted into the relay lineup for her fifth race of the meet. The Lady Tigers finished third in the race.
"This was a huge accomplishment for me," Duncan said. "I came here to score as many points as a I could for my team. We didn't win, but we can go back to the drawing board and we still have improvements we can do before we come back for nationals."
The win was the first for the Arkansas women at the SEC meet since 2003.
"This is pretty special," Arkansas women coach Lance Harter said. "It had been a little bit of a drought for us, and we were kind of tired of second place."
The Arkansas men have won six consecutive track and field and cross county conference championships, dating to the 2011 outdoor meet. Along with Irwin's school-record jump and Batchelor's triple jump victory, the Razorbacks also got a win Sunday in the distance medley relay.
"You've got to keep winning these things to keep up," Arkansas men's coach Chris Bucknam said. "Obviously, it bodes well for us and for our assistant coaches. They've done a great job with this team we've put together."
SEC newcomer Texas A&M was third with 88½ points, followed by Georgia with 56 and LSU with 44.
The Texas A&M women also finished third, with 88 points. Florida was next with 77½ points and Georgia fifth with 53½.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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