From the Desk of Hunter Yurachek
The more things change, the more some things stay the same. In a year of uncertainty, the championship dominance of Arkansas Cross Country and Track and Field certainly remains the same. Last Friday, once again, the Arkansas men’s and women’s cross country teams stood atop the awards podium after clinching the first conference titles of the year at the SEC Cross Country Championships in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
For Coach Lance Harter and the women’s cross country team it was the eighth-consecutive SEC cross country title. The Razorback women’s team has won 10-straight cross country races, dating back to last season. The defending national champion Razorbacks will have to wait until the spring to defend its title as the NCAA has moved the cross country national meet to the spring.
Coach Chris Bucknam and the men’s cross country team also brought home the SEC trophy. The Razorback men returned to the top of the podium at the conference meet. In fact, Arkansas has now won 26 men’s cross country titles in 30 tries since the Razorbacks joined the SEC. Congratulations to both squads on outstanding fall cross country campaigns!
Seeking a Razorback Repeat
Speaking of defending a SEC championship, our soccer team is on the cusp of earning an SEC regular season championship repeat. Coach Colby Hale’s squad is 6-1 on the season and clinched a SEC Western Division crown last Friday with a 2-1 victory over Auburn in the home finale. With a win at Mississippi State this Friday, Arkansas would secure another regular season title. The Razorbacks are currently tied with South Carolina in the standings. Arkansas will then turn its sights to the SEC Soccer Tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama (November 13-22, 2020).
Arkansas Volleyball is also off to a great start (4-0) and is tied for the lead in the SEC entering this week’s matches. Coach Jason Watson and his team have swept the first two conference weekends at Mississippi State and at home last weekend against Ole Miss. The Razorbacks return to action on Wednesday and Thursday of this week with matches at Missouri. Both matches will be televised – Wednesday on ESPNU and Thursday on the SEC Network.
Moving Forward with Football
Exciting things are happening in Razorback Football! Coach Sam Pittman has the Hogs battling toe to toe with some of the top teams in the nation each week. Arkansas has a pair of wins on the season, including wins over No. 16 Mississippi State and a Homecoming victory over Ole Miss. The Razorbacks return to action this weekend in Fayetteville when the Tennessee Volunteers visit Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The game is set for 6:30 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.
Additional Sport Updates
- Men’s Tennis – Arkansas continues its fall season this weekend by hosting a USTA event, the Legacy Bank NWA Series at the Billingsley Tennis Center on Sunday. Arkansas won 15 matches in its most recent outing at the Commodore Invitational.
- Women’s Tennis – The women’s tennis team closed out its fall season last weekend when it hosted the ITA Central Regional Championships on campus.
- Men’s Golf – Julian Perico eagled the 18th hole for the second time in three days to win the Vanderbilt Legends Collegiate last week. The Razorbacks posted a three-day total of -21 and finished tied for sixth in the SEC-only field. They will compete next week at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate outside of Birmingham, Alabama.
- Women’s Golf – Brooke Matthews continued her hot start to the fall season, finishing as the individual runner-up at The Ally, a tournament hosted by Mississippi State. Arkansas finished ninth as a team and will hit the links again later this week at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic in Athens, Georgia.
- Swimming & Diving – Arkansas opens the season with a dual meet at the University of Missouri on Saturday. The Razorbacks will also return to Columbia later this month for the Mizzou Invitational.
Over the past few months, our Hogs UNITED program has been working to educate and provide opportunities for our student-athletes to have their voices heard at the ballot box. Four on-site voter registration and absentee ballot request opportunities were offered on multiple days, including on National Voter Registration Day. Hogs UNITED hosted Darcy Anderson, a former Congressional Chief of Staff, for three voter education events leading up to the election. Thanks to the efforts of Hogs UNITED, 82% of all Razorback student-athletes were registered to vote, with three teams having 100% of their eligible student-athletes registered.
In conjunction with the NCAA, all mandatory athletics related activities were canceled on Election Day. For the first time, the University of Arkansas campus hosted an early voting site at Bud Walton Arena, giving student-athletes and others in the community another convenient option to cast their ballots. It all adds up to yet another way, we continue to Build Champions and Razorbacks for Life!
Coming Soon to Bud Walton Arena
The start of men’s and women’s basketball is just around the corner and preparations are underway for games at Bud Walton Arena. Just as in the fall sports, basketball will see limited capacity (approximately 4,000) for fans for both men’s and women’s basketball based on Arkansas Department of Health guidelines.
Men’s basketball season ticket holders were surveyed to determine whether they wanted to opt out for the upcoming season. In the coming weeks, those who retained their tickets will be notified of their ticket package. Unfortunately, with the limited capacity, we will not be able to accommodate full-season packages for all men’s basketball season ticket holders. Fortunately, our women’s basketball season ticket holders will be able to catch all the action of the upcoming season. Schedules for both men’s and women’s basketball should be finalized soon.
If you are headed to Bud Walton Arena this season, please note that doors will open one hour (60 minutes) prior to tip-off for BOTH men’s and women’s basketball. Just as in football, tickets will be mobile-only for the upcoming seasons. Tickets and applicable parking will be distributed approximately a week prior to the first games. Also note that the clear bag policy remains in effect as will a security screening including metal detectors.
Masks will be required at all times, other than when actively eating or drinking. In addition, protocols used in football (i.e. social distancing, enhanced arena sanitization etc.) will be also utilized at Bud Walton Arena as well.
Calling all Students for BWA Live
University of Arkansas students have an opportunity to preview this year’s men’s basketball team at an exclusive student-only event on Thursday, November 12. UA students can join us at Bud Walton Arena for free food, t-shirts and an exciting night of Razorback Basketball.
This event will be limited to students only, which means any student who wants to attend is free to come. Our goal is to create a safe and socially-distanced environment to get students and our team excited for the upcoming season. Please note masks are required.
As cases around us and around the nation continue to escalate, Razorback student-athletes continue to do a tremendous job with our COVID-19 protocols and safety precautions. Even as testing has increased with more teams in active competition, our positive cases continue to remain well below averages in our area and in other athletics programs around the country. We have come a long way to this point, but we must remain vigilant as we head into our winter sports. I would also ask our fans to do their part as well to give our student-athletes a chance to compete. Wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and Call the Hogs!!
Southwest Classic Update
A brief update and some clarification on our Southwest Classic series in football with Texas A&M. Last weekend, due to the pandemic and the 2020 limited conference only schedule, we played the Aggies in College Station, rather than in Arlington. The move was made based on the extenuating circumstances surrounding this season.
When the move was initially made, I expressed a desire to explore an opportunity to play a game in Arkansas as well. However, based on discussions around our existing agreement, it became apparent that the addition of another on-campus game as part of a traditional 2021 schedule would likely necessitate an extension of that agreement beyond 2024. While we have certainly enjoyed this long-standing series at AT&T Stadium, I did not feel that it was appropriate to make a decision on extending the agreement at this time.
Therefore, the 2021 game remains scheduled for AT&T Stadium in Arlington. If circumstances, once again, dictate other considerations, I am confident that the Jones Family, our partners at AT&T Stadium and Texas A&M would be supportive of our efforts to find an appropriate solution.
Home to Championships
The University of Arkansas will be adding to its championship legacy by hosting four future NCAA postseason events, including the 2026 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships, as announced recently by the NCAA.
The Randal Tyson Track Center, home to the fastest indoor track in the world, is already scheduled to host the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 12-13, 2021. Arkansas was also selected to host a 2024 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Regional at John McDonnell Field, a 2024 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Regional at Barnhill Arena and a 2025 NCAA Men’s Golf Regional at Blessings Golf Club.
Razorbacks Coming Soon
VB November 4 at Missouri, 5 p.m., ESPNU
VB November 5 at Missouri, 6 p.m., SEC Network
WGF November 6-8 at Liz Murphey Fall Collegiate Classic, Athens, Georgia
SOC November 6 at Mississippi State, 6 p.m., SECN+
SW/Diving November 7 at Missouri, Noon
FB November 7 Tennessee, 6:30 p.m., SEC Network
MGF November 9-10 at Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, Vestavia Hills, Alabama
SOC November 13-22 SEC Soccer Tournament, Orange Beach, Alabama, SEC Network
VB November 13 Texas A&M, 7 p.m., ESPNU
FB November 14 at Florida, 6 p.m., ESPN
VB November 14 Texas A&M, 6 p.m., SECN+
- Bobby Bones & Caitlin Parker – Congratulations to our good friend and rabid Razorback fan Bobby Bones and his fiancée Caitlin Parker on their recent engagement. Bobby is a great representative of the Razorback Nation. We hope to see you Calling the Hogs on your special day!
- Razorback Athletics Retiring Teammates – Recently we had the opportunity to celebrate some longtime team members of Razorback Athletics who retired last month. Combined the 16 extraordinary individuals contributed more than 460 years of service to the University of Arkansas. Thank you to all of those who made a meaningful difference in the lives of thousands of student-athletes, coaches, colleagues and Razorback fans!
We look forward to seeing you On the Hill again soon!