Razorback Roundup: Feb. 2

RAZORBACK ROUNDUPFeb. 2, 2009RED TIE DINNER Razorback student-athletes Stephanie Carr (swimming), Jonathan Luigs (football), Aurelija Miseviciute (women’s tennis) and Blake Strode (men’s tennis) were honored as the 2009 Salute to Excellence award winners at the 12th annual Razorback Red Tie event on Saturday at the Embassy Suites in Rogers. The event honors male and female student-athletes whose performance throughout his or her career serves to lift up his or her sport to new heights and whose character exemplifies the goals of the University of Arkansas Department of Athletics.BLACK HISTORY MONTH ON ArkansasRazorbacks.com: In honor of Black History Month, ArkansasRazorbacks.com will feature daily tributes during the month of February on current and former African-American student-athletes who have achieved excellence in the classroom and in athletic competition at the University of Arkansas. A different student-athlete who has graduated from the university will be featured each day beginning on Monday, Feb. 2, with both men’s and women’s representatives from many of the Razorbacks’ 19 sport programs.BASEBALL The Razorbacks began official practices on Sunday afternoon at Baum Stadium with a three-hour session working on fundamentals like fielding, double plays, base running and hitting. The No. 22 Hogs have Monday off and return to the field the rest of the week as they prepare for their season opener on Friday, Feb. 20, against Washington State at Baum Stadium.MEN’S BASKETBALL (13-6, 1-5) Arkansas picked up its first conference win with Thursday’s 89-80 home win over Alabama. Despite the weather conditions, the Razorbacks drew a crowd of 14,157. Freshman Rotnei Clarke made 9-of-13 shots for a season-high 26 points. At LSU on Saturday, the Razorbacks cut a 20-point deficit to 64-59, but got no closer and the Tigers hit free throws down the stretch for a 79-69 win over the Hogs. Michael Washington had a game-high 24 points. Arkansas plays host to Tennessee on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. and travels to Mississippi State for a 2 p.m. tilt on Saturday. Both games are being televised by Raycom Sports, which is carried by KHOG/KHBS in Northwest Arkansas, KATV in Little Rock and KAIT in Jonesboro.WOMEN’S BASKETBALL (12-10, 1-6) Freshman Ceira Ricketts posted back-to-back double-digit games last week to raise her average against SEC opponents above her mark versus non-conference foes as Arkansas took Vanderbilt to overtime and had one of its best offensive games of the year with Florida. Junior Ashley McCray had a career high shattering 20 points and 15 rebounds at Vanderbilt. Senior Whitney Jones had a team-best and career high 17 rebounds with 10 points. The Razorbacks set a conference-game record with 58 rebounds at Vanderbilt, besting 53 against an SEC foe and 57 against the old Southwest Conference. Arkansas heads on the road for back-to-back conference games at LSU on Thursday and at Georgia on Sunday.FOOTBALL Head coach Bobby Petrino will announce his second Razorback recruiting class on Wednesday as part of National Signing Day. Petrino will hold a media press conference at 3 p.m. and then unveil the nationally ranked recruiting class to Razorback Foundation Broyles-Matthews Gold and Platinum supporters at an invitation only event to be held in the Raymond Miller Room beginning at 4 p.m. You can follow all the latest on signing day at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.MEN’S GOLF The Razorbacks return from the off-season Feb. 23 at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate in Hawaii for their first tournament of the spring.WOMEN’S GOLF Arkansas returns to action at the LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic in Baton Rouge, La., March 13-15.GYMNASTICS (5-1, 2-0) Arkansas moved up to a tie for No. 3 in this week’s national rankings after its third consecutive win over a top 10 team. It is the highest national ranking in program history. The Razorbacks are tied with nine-time and defending national champion Georgia this week. Junior All-American Casey Jo Magee won her fifth consecutive all-around title, leading Arkansas to the 196.625-196.525 win over No. 9 Alabama Friday. The Razorbacks hit the road this week, traveling to No. 31 Kentucky in the first of a pair of road meets.MEN’S INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD At the UW Invitational in Seattle on Friday, the quartet of senior Alex McClary (1,200 meters; 2:55), freshman Ben Skidmore (400 meters; 47.7), sophomore Chris Bilbrew (800 meters; 1:49) and junior Dorian Ulrey (mile, 3:54) combined for a time of 9:28.35 to set a school record and win the distance medley relay. It is also a Dempsey Indoor Track record, an NCAA automatic-qualifying mark, and the national and SEC leader. On Saturday, Ulrey stunned the crowd again by winning the invitational 3,000 meters. Ulrey’s winning time in the 3K, 7:50.86, is the national leader, the SEC leader and automatically qualifies him for the NCAA Championships in March. Ulrey is now automatically qualified for three events at the NCAA Championships – the mile, the 3,000 meters and the DMR. Ulrey’s 3,000-meter clocking also ranks No. 6 on Arkansas’ all-time list. For the third race in the last seven days, Ulrey has inked his name to the Arkansas record books. He also ranks No. 1 on the Arkansas list as a member of the DMR and No. 9 for his 3:57.66 mile. Shawn Forrest finished second in the 3K with a 7:51.07, also an automatic qualifier. His time ranks second in the NCAA and second in the SEC. Next up for the Razorbacks will be the New Balance Collegiate Invitational at the Armory in New York.WOMEN’S INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD Arkansas picked up four NCAA provisional qualifiers and numerous personal bests during the Penn State National. On day two, sophomore Shelise Williams clocked an NCAA provisional-qualifier in the 400 meters. Her time of 54.35 is a personal best, ranks third in the SEC and sixth nationally. Catherine White (16:14.62), Denise Bargiachi (16:21.14) and Christine Kalmer (16:35.41) combined for an Arkansas 3-4-5 finish, respectively, in the 5,000 meters. All three times are under the provisional qualifying mark of 16:45 and all three clocked personal bests in the event. White ranks third nationally and leads the SEC by more than a minute. Next up for the Razorbacks is the New Balance Collegiate Invitational at the Armory in New York.SOCCER: Sixteen Razorbacks were named to the 2008-09 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll, the most representatives by an SEC soccer team this year. The honorees include graduating seniors Whitney Allison, Megan Fawley, Sarah Gwisdala, Lindsay Patterson and Abbey Wilburn; juniors Jackie Booker, Kat Moffett, Kathleen Paulsen, Kim Schlief, Rachel Smith and Sophie Wentz; sophomores Sam Bolton, Beth McVean, Erin Moskos and Kelly O’Connor; and redshirt freshman Dani Alexander.SOFTBALL: Arkansas begins its 2009 season Feb. 6-8 at the Southern Miss. Invitational in Hattiesburg, Miss. In their season opener, the Razorbacks will play host Southern Mississippi with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. On the second day of the event, Arkansas will play Western Kentucky at 11:30 a.m. and end the day with another contest against Southern Miss (4:30 p.m.). The Razorbacks will close competition with a 12:30 p.m. matchup with Samford. All games will be played at the Southern Miss. Softball Complex.SWIMMING AND DIVING (9-1, 3-1) The Razorbacks were idle last week as they moved from No. 19 to No. 18 in the College Swimming Coaches of America Association poll. This week the team hosts Drury in its regular season finale at the Arkansas Natatorium on Friday at 6 p.m.MEN’S TENNIS (0-2): The No. 45 Hogs faced No. 5 Virginia and No. 34 Wisconsin last weekend at the ITA National Indoor Invite in Charlottesville, Va. On Friday, the Cavaliers swept past the Razorbacks, 7-0, and the Badgers edged the Hogs 4-3 on Saturday. This weekend, the team travels to West Lafayette, Ind., to take on Illinois State and Purdue. WOMEN’S TENNIS (3-1): The 14th-ranked Razorbacks defeated No. 58 Oregon, 4-0, in the opening round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Fayetteville on Saturday. Arkansas lost 4-1 to No. 17 Notre Dame on Sunday, but senior Aurelija Miseviciute tied the all-time singles win record at Arkansas with her 107th career win. Miseviciute, ranked No. 2 in the nation, topped No. 45 Kelcy Tefft to tie Maria Pavlidou, Brandy Brown and Beth Wagner atop Arkansas’ wins list. The Razorbacks host BYU Friday at 3 p.m.OLYMPIC SPORTS PRESS CONFERENCETuesday at 1 p.m. in the Barnhill Arena interview room.