FAYETTEVILLE (ArkansasRazorbacks.com) – The No. 2 University of Arkansas men's track and field team opened its home schedule Saturday with four wins at the Razorback Spring Invitational at John McDonnell Field. The Razorbacks picked up first-place performances from Marek Niit at 200 meters, Caleb Cross in the 400-meter hurdles, Andrew Irwin in the pole vault and the team's 4x100-meter relay. The meet was Arkansas' second competition of the 2013 outdoor season.
"It is great to back on our home track because we have a beautiful facility," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "We were able to get a lot of work done today. This meet was about rebooting ourselves after an emotional indoor season. We were happy to watch our guys come out and compete in races. We are not looking at times just yet for a lot of our guys."
Irwin extended his winning streak to five meets with Saturday's result, dating back to the indoor season. The Razorback sophomore entered the competition with a first-attempt clearance at 5.50m/18-0.5 and ended the day with a final clearance of 5.65m/18-6.5. Irwin went on to take three unsuccessful attempts at breaking his own school record with the bar set at 5.73m/18-9.5.
Cross had Arkansas' first win on the track with his effort in the 400-meter hurdles. In his third race of the day, he finished the race with a time of 51.08. The Newport, Ark., native also ran the opening leg of the Razorbacks' 4x100-meter relay and finished second in the 110-meter hurdles with a wind-aided time of 13.84.
The Razorbacks' third individual win of the day came from Niit in the 200 meters where he navigated a slight headwind to turn in a time of 20.83, the fastest outdoor opener of his collegiate career. He was the only runner below the 21-second mark. Earlier in the day, Niit finished second at 100 meters. He crossed the finish line in the short sprint in a wind-aided time of 10.45.
In the final event of the day, Niit collected his second win with teammates Jarrion Lawson, Tomas Squella and Anton Kokorin in the 4x400-meter relay. Running in the second of two sections, the Razorbacks combined for a time of 3:12.48 to finish nearly two seconds ahead of the second-place team.
Arkansas added seven runner-up finishes to go along with its four event wins. Along with Niit at 100 meters and Cross in the 110m hurdles, the Razorbacks had second-place efforts from Tomas Squella at 800 meters (1:50.02), Brede Ellingsen in the high jump (2.17m/7-1.5), Anthony May II in the long jump (7.50m/24-7.25w) and triple jump (15.40m/50-6.25) and Devin Randall in the discus (49.82m/163-5).
The Razorbacks are back in action April 7-8 with the John McDonnell Combined Events. The full team returns to competition April 12-13 with another home meet, the John McDonnell Invitational. The Razorback Spring Invitational marked the first of five home meets for the team. The Razorbacks are also set to host the Arkansas Invitational (April 27) and Arkansas Twilight (May 3).
For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas cross country and track and field through the team's sport-specific RazorbackTF Facebook and Twitter pages.