Razorbacks Open Outdoor Season at No. 2 in Trackwire Poll

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.The reigning NCAA indoor champion and defending NCAA outdoor champion Arkansas Razorbacks are ranked No. 2 in the inaugural outdoor track and field poll released by Trackwire.com.

Florida State tops the first poll of the season with 66 points. Arkansas is second in the rankings with 49 points while UTEP and LSU are tied for third with 45 points. Arizona rounds out the top five with 40 projected points.

The poll is based on projected scoring and individual rankings in each event at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Arkansas is well represented in Trackwire’s Dandy Dozen individual rankings as well. The Razorbacks boast nine entries in the listings and either the No. 1 ranking or No. 2 ranking in five different events in this week’s edition.

Junior Peter Kosgei is atop the individual rankings in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Kosgei was the national runner-up in the steeplechase at the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Championships. The Kenyan is also ranked fourth in the 10,000-meter run.

Senior Eric Brown is the other Razorback to top the ranking list in an individual event. Brown is listed as the nation’s top athlete in the javelin. Last season, Brown shattered the school record on the way to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Brown will compete for the first time this season this weekend at the Texas Relays.

Senior Josphat Boit is once again a familiar face among the nation’s top distance runners. Boit is ranked second nationally in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. The reigning NCAA Indoor 5,000-meter champion, Boit will be looking for his first NCAA individual outdoor crown in June. He finished sixth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 10K last year. He didn’t finish in the 5K final at last year’s championship meet.

Freshman Nkosinza Balumbu is looming near the top of the triple jump rankings. Balumbu is ranked second in the nation after an impressive rookie indoor campaign. The Union City, Calif., product finished fifth in the triple jump at the NCAA Indoors in March.

Freshman sprinter J-Mee Samuels is ranked in both the 100 and 200 meters. Samuels holds down the No. 10 spot in the 100 and No. 12 spot in the 200 this week. The heralded prep sprinter struggled to get going in the indoor season, but undoubtedly has the potential to stay a regular in the national rankings in both events.

Junior Adam Perkins earned a spot in the 1,500-meter rankings released by Trackwire. Perkins is ranked ninth this week in the event. Last season, Perkins finished fourth in the 1,500-meter run at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Arkansas will travel to Austin, Texas, this weekend to compete at the 2006 Texas Relays. This weekend’s meet will be the first full-squad outdoor competition for the Razorbacks this spring.