NCAA Indoor Track

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE – The Arkansas Razorbacks women netted their first All-American of the 2021 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships Thursday at the Randal Tyson Indoor Track with Gu’Ana Edwards achieving an pentathlon eighth-place one team point while scoring a personal record 4,148 pentathlon points

won by Texas A&M’s Tyra Gittens for 10 team points and 4,746 pentathlon.

Gittens was the heavy pentathlon favorite for the Aggies, considered the strongest contender to Coach Lance Harter’s SEC champion Razorbacks, the defending NCAA champions for the 3-day meet concluding Saturday off their 2019 NCAA Indoor title since the 2020 NCAA Indoor was cancelled because of the national covid-19 outbreak.

“Gittens won as expected,” Harter said. “And GG got a point as we expected though she was seeded 12th. She got her PR which is a bonus and she got us a point that could be critical.”

The nationally No. 1 ranked Razorbacks have entrants in today’s pole vault, long jump, 5,000 meter run and distance medley finals and prelims in the 60, 200 and 400-meter dashes, 60-meter hurdles and the mile.

“We need to hit on all cylinders and get our qualifiers advanced,” Harter said.

Arkansas Coach Chris Bucknam’s men suffered a “setback,”during Thursday’s first day of the two-day heptathlon.

Markus Ballengee, the SEC Indoor runner-up heptathlete, seeded third at at the NCAA Indoor, injured a quadriceps muscle running the heptathlon 60-meter dash and had to withdraw.

“He had gotten a strain during the conference meet and in the 60 he just couldn’t push off,” Bucknam said. “We pulled him because we don’t want to get him hurt.”

Not scoring if the heptathlon had ended Thursday but with a chance to score Friday are Razorbacks Daniel Spejcher, ninth-place, 3,123 points and Etamar Bhastekar, 3,115 points.

“Daniel and Etamar had a good first day,” Bucknam said. “They could score.”

Ruben Franks, the freshman All-SEC 35-pound weight thrower

scoring at the SEC meet for Bucknam’s nationally third-ranked SEC champion Razorbacks “had the deer in the headlights” for his first NCAA meet traditionally dominated by upperclassmen throwers, Bucknam said.

“He’s going to be fine,” Bucknam said. “He’s a stud, just right now a freshman in a grown up event. The rest of the guys look good. We just need to rock and roll tomorrow.”

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