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Hogs

Olympics postponed, but questions still remain for Hogs’ track athletes

FAYETTEVILLE — Postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games has reset the international calendar for track and field athletes, putting Olympic dreams on hold for numerous athletes with ties to the Arkansas program.

However, questions remain regarding if, and when, any track meets will be held the rest of the 2020 season.

“There is disappointment, but at the same time we know it’s the best decision for all,” Arkansas women’s coach Lance Harter said. “Obviously, this is a virus that has taken a lot of lives already and doesn’t need to take any more, especially if attending an Olympic Games this summer would be the reason.

“Our athletes are still going to train with the idea that is there going to be a U.S. national championship, or some type of competition this season. They’re incredibly fit, now we’re just trying to get them to back off the intensity and kind of go into a cruise control.”

While the collegiate season has been canceled regarding conference and NCAA championships, track and field athletes usually compete in senior or junior championships in the U.S. (or their respective countries) during the summer.

“Hopefully, by mid-April we have a better idea what is going to be available for the 2020 track season,” said Harter. “The other decision for seniors is will they have an opportunity to come back next year or do they move on with their lives with the choices they have post-graduation.

“The whole timetable is in suspension, waiting to see what is going to happen. You want to stay as optimistic and positive as possible, but at the same time reality is reality.”

Arkansas alums competing professionally are also waiting to see what remains of this outdoor track and field season.

“Among our post-collegians we have a few athletes who are involved with the Diamond League and that is part of their livelihoods,” Harter said. “So that is even a tougher decision in waiting to see what’s the forecast for availability of competition.”

Arkansas alum Wallace Spearmon, Jr., a member of the USA Track and Field Board of Directors as well as serving on athlete advisory committees for USATF and Team USA, said in a Tuesday social media post:

“The Games being canceled has put a halt on athletes having to decide if they wanted to risk their life for the Games or practice social distancing, thank you. But there are still lots of unanswered questions, the Games are canceled but the season isn’t.

“I advise all professional athletes to speak to their sponsors about ways they can still market themselves and their brand. Speak to your AAC rep about tier questions, medical programs, and benefits. Speak to AAC about season plans, USATF plans, etc.

“Please don’t go full off-season mode without consulting with most of these people first. And before you say this isn’t important, please realize it’s not a matter of IF this will affect you, it’s when will it. Be smart and safe!”

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Hogs Women's Track-Field

Harter felt he had good team before NCAA Championships cancelled last week

Arkansas women’s track coach Lance Harter talked on a teleconference with the media Wednesday about the disappointment for his athletes after the NCAA Championships were cancelled last week.

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Hogs Women's Track-Field

Surge on second day lifts Razorbacks to sixth straight SEC Indoor title

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A big day of scoring on the second day of the conference meet secured a sixth consecutive SEC Indoor Championship and 10th overall for Arkansas on Saturday.

The Razorbacks totaled 102 points for the team victory with LSU runner-up at 87.5. Following were Georgia (78), Alabama (67), Kentucky (63), Texas A&M (58) and Florida (45).

“In addition to the distance and pole vault points we expected, we had scoring in the hurdles and the 800, events we didn’t expect to score,” Arkansas coach Lance Harter said. “That created that margin and the point difference where we could celebrate another victory in the SEC.

“Every time someone wins a title the others are trying to figure out what the combination is that’s needed to offset you. And it comes from 13 other teams.”

The women’s mile set the stage with 23 points from a 1-2-4 finish by Carina Viljoen (4:40.19), Krissy Gear (4:42.15) and Maddy Reed (4:44.36). With Viljoen’s victory, it marks the 12th time Arkansas has won the event in the SEC Indoor and the third consecutive year.

“Our first event of the day was the mile and they’re the ones who set the trend and momentum,” Harter said. “There is a lot of pressure on them, because they came in with great seed marks. They rose to the challenge and grabbed 23 points. We were off to the races.”

Katie Izzo won the 3,000m in 9:09.02 as the Razorbacks sealed the team victory with 19 points in the event. Viljoen (9:21.82) and Devin Clark (9:22.94) finished fifth and sixth while Abby Gray (9:31.35) placed ninth.

In the 60m hurdles another career best performance had Daszay Freeman finishing fourth in an elite field with a time of 8.15, which moves her to No. 5 on the Arkansas all-time list.

Five more points followed in the 800m as Shafiqua Maloney (2:08.19) and Kennedy Thomson (2:10.07) placed sixth and seventh. It marks the third consecutive career best time for Maloney, who improved the national record for St. Vincent.

Bailee McCorkle led the pole vault trio by clearing a pair of career best heights. Her clearance of 14-7 ½ (4.46) collected the bronze medal. McCorkle moved to equal No. 5 on the Arkansas all-time list, joining Desiree Freier at that height.

Lauren Martinez finished fifth while Kaitlyn Banas tied for 10th. Martinez cleared 13-11 ¼ (4.25) while Banas made 12-11 ½ (3.95).

The 4×400 relay finished fourth in 3:32.24 with a crew of Paris Peoples (53.96), Morgan Burks-Magee (51.76), Tiana Wilson (52.48) and Rosey Effiong (54.04). A 53.13 for Peoples placed her eighth in the 400m.

Information from Razorback Sports Communications is included in this story.

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Hogs Women's Track-Field

Razorbacks pick up three wins in Arkansas Qualifier on Friday

FAYETTEVILLE — The Razorbacks generated three victories along with posting the top collegiate finish in a pair of events to highlight the Arkansas Qualifier on Friday inside the Randall Tyson Track Center.

It was the final home indoor meet for the Razorbacks, who will compete in the SEC Indoor Championships next weekend.

Daszay Freeman claimed the 60m hurdles in 8.28 while G’Auna Edwards won the long jump with an opening round leap of 20-4 ½ (6.21).

The 4×400 relay closed out the evening with a 3:32.63 victory from a foursome of Paris Peoples (53.47), Morgan Burks-Magee (52.63), Tiana Wilson (53.97) and Rosey Effiong (52.57). The effort currently ranks as the fifth fastest school this season.

“I think if we call it a last chance qualifier, it served its purpose,” said Arkansas women’s coach Lance Harter. “Our sprint crew is continuing to jell, it’s relatively young, and they seem to be coming on as the season progresses. I think they’re ready to take advantage of this momentum into the SEC meet.

“Our distance crew is fine-tuning, basically, or had the time off to really try to capitalize on the challenges they are going to face next week as well.”

Individually, Wilson placed second in the 400-meters with a career best of 52.77 as she moved to No. 9 on the Arkansas all-time list.

“I knew I had to execute, and this would be the meet before SECs where I would have the chance,” said Wilson. “I had some really great competition that helped push me. I executed the race, like I had talked about with my coach, and it went great.

“In the relay, our splits were pretty good this time. We went out there, gave it our all, and just got the job done. I’m so excited for SECs, and I can’t wait to compete.”

Wilson finished second to professional Shamier Little, who set a meet record of 52.54, with teammate Burks-Magee, a section winner, in third with a 53.48 while Peoples, who also won her section, placed fifth in 53.88 behind alum Sparkle McKnight (53.54).

Effiong, meanwhile, clocked 23.88 in the 200m to finish behind alum Janeek Brown (23.26).

The 800-meters created career best times for a trio of Razorbacks, who were led by Carina Viljoen as she finished second in 2:07.36 behind the winning time of 2:06.72 by Oklahoma State’s Kaytlyn Larson.

In third place, Kennedy Thomson bettered her indoor best with a 2:09.04. Shafiqua Maloney finished fifth as her 2:11.16 set the national record for St. Vincent, bettering a 2:12.23 set by Kineke Alexander on an oversized track in 2009.

Quinn Owen led a 3-4-5 Razorback finish in the mile with a 4:55.57, followed by Adoette Vaughan (4:56.42) and Greta Taylor (5:06.41).

Information from Razorback Sports Communications is included in this story.

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Hogs Women's Track-Field

Martinez wins Tyson Invitational pole vault; distance crew successful in Seattle

FAYETTEVILLE —In a competition which came down to a pair of teammates for second-ranked Arkansas, it was Lauren Martinez setting a pair of career best heights to claim victory in the invitational pole vault on Saturday at the Tyson Invitational held in the Randal Tyson Track Center.

Meanwhile in Seattle, Washington, at the Husky Classic, the Razorback distance crew registered a slew of career best times while racing at 3,000m and 5,000m on Friday as well as in the mile on Saturday.

“Obviously, the opportunity to divide the forces and let our sprint and jump crew do a great job at the Tyson Invitational and then our distance crew to run some all-time best time and national marks worked well,” said Arkansas women’s coach Lance Harter. “It further prepares us to be competitive at the SEC Championships, and ultimately at the national meet.

“We’ve had great improvement across the board, which was perfect for this weekend. Next weekend is an option weekend for us and then we are on to SECs.”

Martinez moved to No. 6 on the Razorback all-time list with a clearance of 14-4 ½ (4.38) on her first attempt. She needed a pair of jumps to clear 13-8½ (4.18) as well as a then personal best of 14-2½ (4.33). Martinez previous best was 14-0 ¾ from earlier this season.

“I’ve been waiting to PR for a year now,” stated Martinez. “I was able to double PR when I cleared the 4.33 and 4.38. It was a great feeling and I was very excited. When it came down to just Bailee and I, it was nice having a teammate there as we both attempted a PR. I’ve been working on some technical stuff and I think today it finally clicked a little bit.”

Bailee McCorkle, who is currently No. 9 on the Arkansas all-time list, led the competition based on one fewer miss than Martinez through the 14-2½ height.

Then three misses for McCorkle at 14-4½ placed her second. The Razorback pair were the only ones to eclipse 14 feet as six vaulters missed at 14-2 ½ and finished with 13-8 ½ clearances.

Husky Classic

Entering the weekend as the collegiate leader in the 5,000m, Katie Izzo produced her best time in the 3,000m with a stellar effort of 8:55.67 with teammate Carina Viljoen setting a personal best of 8:56.63 as they placed fourth and sixth in the race.

Izzo’s performance ranks second on the Arkansas all-time indoor list, trailing only the school record of 8:52.57 set by Dominique Scott in 2015. Viljoen’s effort ranks No. 4 on the Razorback all-time list.

“It was a phenomenal field to race against,” said Harter. “There were around 12 runners seriously looking at qualifying for nationals. Any time you can break nine minutes that’s kind of a special barrier, especially for a collegian. That was really impressive.”

Also racing and setting career best times at 3,000m were Krissy Gear and Devin Clark. Gear clocked 9:14.39 to place second in her section and 13th overall while Clark posted a time of 9:17.27 to finish 19th overall. Maddy Reed won her section of the 3,000m in a personal best of 9:22.52.

After winning the 3,000m at the Razorback Invitational, Abby Gray improved her career best in the 5,000m with a clocking of 16:15.72 to finish fifth among collegians and 15th overall with the professional runners included.

In an earlier section of the 5,000m, freshman Adoette Vaughan placed third with a 16:53.26.

“With everyone running so well, it’s a reconfirmation that we’re on our way in preparation for the SEC Championships as well as the national meet,” said Harter.

The fast times continued in the mile on Saturday. Izzo won her Invitational section in 4:35.05 and placed fifth overall as Viljoen (4:35.33) and Gear (4:36.59) raced together in another section to finish sixth and seventh overall.

Izzo moved to No. 8 on the Razorback all-time mile list with Gear No. 11 while Viljoen’s career best of 4:33.88 set last season ranks No. 4.

Also racing in the mile, Arkansas has solid performances from Reed (4:39.62) and Kennedy Thompson (4:49.00).

Tyson Invitational

The Razorback 4×400 relay finished runner-up in 3:34.87 behind a 3:32.87 for LSU with a foursome of Rosey Effiong (55.08), Morgan Burks-Magee (52.87), Tiana Wilson (53.34) and Paris Peoples (53.59). Kansas (3:35.61) placed third with North Carolina A&T (3:35.97) fourth.

Earlier in the meet the Arkansas sprint squad competed in the 200m.

Wilson generated a career best of 23.49 to win her Invitational 200m section and placed fourth overall. LSU’s Thelma Davis produced a world-leading 22.80 for the overall victory.

Effiong led the field in the other 200m competition with a 23.87 to edge out a 23.88 from North Carolina A&T’s Nilaja Florence in the same heat.

The rest of the Razorback crew included by Burks-Magee (24.18), G’Auna Edwards (24.33), Daszay Freeman (24.41) and Tamara Kuykendall (24.50).

Information from Razorback Sports Communications is included in this story.

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Hogs Women's Track-Field

Freeman sets career best in 60-meter hurdles prelims at Tyson Invitational

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas freshman Daszay Freeman established a career best of 8.22 seconds in the prelims of the 60m hurdles on the first day of the Tyson Invitational, remaining No. 7 on the Arkansas all-time list.

In the final, Freeman placed fifth with an 8.24 among a loaded field. LSU’s tandem of Tonea Marshall (7.89) and Alia Armstrong (7.95) went 1-2 while North Carolina A&T’s duo of Paula Salmon (8.08) and Madeleine Akobundu (8.19) were 3-4.

Quinn Owen clocked 4:55.76 for third place in the mile as Greta Taylor (5:07.68) finished seventh. In the 400m, Tiana Wilson produced the top time among the Razorbacks with a 53.68 which placed her sixth overall as Morgan Burks-Magee (53.93) finished eighth and Paris Peoples (53.94) was 10th.

A mark of 19-11¾ (6.09) for G’Auna Edwards placed her ninth in a competitive long jump field. Taisha Price of Kansas State claimed the victory with a leap of 21-10 (6.65) over Georgia’s Jasmine Moore, who reached a mark of 21-2 ¾ (6.47) as runner-up.

The Tyson Invitational continues Saturday with the prime events taking place in a 1 to 4 p.m. time frame.

Field events start at 11:30 a.m. with running events beginning at 1 p.m.

Information from Razorback Sports Communications is included in this story.

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Hogs Women's Track-Field

Arkansas’ Banas earns top freshman award after career best performance

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Arkansas pole vaulter Kaitlyn Banas earned SEC freshman of the week honors from her career best performance of 13-7 (4.14) during the New Mexico Collegiate Challenge this past weekend.

In clearing the height Banas is currently the fifth-best freshman among collegians this indoor season and the second-best freshman in the SEC.

Her previous best vault of 13-0 ¼ (3.97) was set during the Razorback Invitational two weeks ago.

The No. 2 Arkansas squad will host the Tyson Invitational this Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-15, with seven top 25 ranked teams amid a field of 26 teams entered.

Teams following the Razorbacks in the USTFCCCA national rating index, who are scheduled to compete in the Tyson Invitational, include No. 4 Georgia, No. 6 LSU, No. 10 Colorado, No. 13 Minnesota, No. 17 Iowa and No. 25 Baylor.

SEC Indoor athlete of the week honors

Men

Runner of the Week: Langston Jackson, Kentucky
Field Athlete of the Week: Bobby Colantonio, Alabama
Freshman of the Week: Eric Casarez, Texas A&M

Women

Runner of the Week: Tamara Clark, Alabama
Field Athlete of the Week: Deborah Acquah, Texas A&M
Freshman of the Week: Kaitlyn Banas, Arkansas

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Hogs Women's Track-Field

McCorkle gets career best in New Mexico; Morris breaks mark in Millrose Games

Bailey McCorkle set a career best of 14-2¾ (4.34) to finish as the top collegian in a field of 17 vaulters Saturday at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic in the pole vault.

That wasn’t the only big news for the Razorback women’s track team.

In New York City, Arkansas alum Sandi Morris attempted a world record in the pole vault after claiming the Millrose Games title with a meet record clearance of 16-1 ¼ (4.91).

After clearing 14-0 for the initial time last weekend in the Razorback Invitational, McCorkle surpassed that performance twice in placing second overall to professional vaulter Anicka Newell, who won with the same height as McCorkle.

McCorkle added a personal best of 14-0 ¾ (4.29) in her series and then moved to No. 8 on the Razorback all-time indoor list with her clearance of 14-2 ¾ on a first attempt.

Lauren Martinez, competing in her hometown where she was a four-time New Mexico state champion, tied for fourth at 13-11 (4.24) while Kaitlyn Banas set a career best of 13-7 (4.14) in placing ninth.

“What a weekend our vaulters had in New Mexico,” said women’s coach Lance Harter. “McCorkle, who is from Greenwood, continues to impress while Martinez is getting more consistent and jumping at her PR almost every weekend. Then Banas had another PR and seems to be setting them week after week.”

In New York, Morris had the bar raised to a world record height of 16-6 ½ (5.04) after she established the meet record and the world-leading mark for the 2020 indoor season, missing on three attempts.

Another Razorback alum in the competition, Lexi Jacobus, finished fourth at 14-1¼ (4.30).

“As far as the University of Arkansas, we were well represented across the board, from the sprints to distances to the vault,” said Harter. “It was fun to see our alumni so well represented. It’s just amazing how popular the Arkansas Razorback name is even in New York City.”

Racing in the 3,000m at the Millrose Games, Taylor Werner produced a career best of 8:51.91 in fourth place behind a trio of professional runners — Allie Ostrander (8:48.94), Julie-Ann Staehli (8:49.01) and Laura Rodriguez (8:49.74) — while NCAA cross country champion Weini Kelati of New Mexico placed seventh in 8:54.66.

Using a redshirt this indoor season, Werner’s time would have bettered the Arkansas school record of 8:52.57 set by Dominique Scott in 2015 and moved her to equal No. 6 on the all-time collegiate list. Werner’s previous best of 8:56.97 was set a year ago this weekend in Seattle.

“Taylor competed really well,” said Harter. “She knocked off some of the top collegiate competitors that she’ll see outdoors. Taylor had a big PR that bettered our school record, and she already has plans to break it during the next indoor season.”

In the 60m hurdles, Payton Chadwick posted a time of 8.00 for third as Janeek Brown finished sixth in 8.10. Keni Harrison won the event in 7.90 over a 7.96 for Nia Ali.

Nikki Hiltz clocked a personal best of 4:24.45 for fifth place in the Wanamaker mile as the top four finishers each set a national record.

Taylor Ewert, a future Razorback, claimed the women’s mile racewalk in 6:02.81 and then returned for the girl’s mile race, where she placed sixth with an indoor best of 4:50.07.

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Hogs Women's Track-Field

Gray rallies in 3,000-meters to pick up win with career best time

FAYETTEVILLE — Abby Gray’s determination over the final pair of laps in the 3,000m earned her an impressive victory in a career best time of 9:16.98 on the second day of the Razorback Invitational.

Gray was stationed in third place in the latter stages of the race, behind Georgia’s sister combo of Jessica (9:18.64) and Samantha Drop (9:26.50).

With a lap remaining in the race, Gray moved from third to first place and then pulled away for a convincing victory. She covered the final 200m lap in 32.35 seconds and split 67.74 over the last 400m of the race.

“We had some good breakthroughs this weekend and Abby Gray was an example of that in the 3,000m,” said Arkansas women’s coach Lance Harter. “It was a big breakthrough for her and a confidence boost. Now she’s back, potentially, in the national scene.

“It couldn’t happen to a nicer kid, because she had to go through some setbacks and overcome them. It’s super exciting to see her work hard and the fruits of her labor starting to pay off.”

Just as impressive was the effort by a trio Razorbacks in the mile, after each ran a leg of the distance medley relay the previous evening.

Carina Vilhoen led the Arkansas crew with a 4:36.33 to place third behind Standford’s pair of Ella Donaghu (4:33.71) and Jessica Lawson (4:35.56).

Razorbacks Krissy Gear and Katie Izzo followed career best times of 4:37.20 and 4:37.47 to finish fourth and fifth.

“We are flushed with milers,” said Harter. “It’s a big confidence boost to Carina that she could run a great lead-off 1,200m leg and come and run an even faster mile.

“Izzo anchored with the mile in the distance medley relay and produced a lifetime best in the Invitational mile. Krissy’s previous best mile was seven to eight seconds slower. It’s a testament to our depth in that event.”

The Razorback 4×400 relay posted a time of 3:33.45 as runner-up in a tight finish. Florida (3:33.31) held on for the win after both teams passed early leader Texas (3:35.03) on the last lap of the race.

Running on the relay for Arkansas were Paris Peoples (54.23), Morgan Burks-Magee (52.06), Tiana Wilson (53.53) and Rosey Effiong (53.63).

Earlier in the meet, Peoples ran 53.47 for fifth in the Invitational 400m while Wilson produced a career best of 7.40 twice in the 60m prelims and then placed seventh in the final with a 7.46.

In team scoring No. 6 LSU won with 96 points over No. 11 Florida (80) and No. 4 Texas (70). The next three teams included No. 2 Georgia (67), No. 17 Oregon (65) and No. 3 Arkansas (62.5) among a field of 13 teams.

Information from Razorback Sports Communications is included in this story.

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Hogs Women's Track-Field

Razorbacks’ medley relay team posts second fastest time in school history

FAYETTEVILLE — A time of 10:57.08 placed Arkansas second in the women’s distance medley relay to highlight the first day of the Razorback Invitational in front of 1,488 in at the Randal Tyson Indoor Track Center.

The Razorback foursome of Carina Viljoen (3:22.85), Morgan Burks-Magee (51.90), Krissy Gear (2:05.68) and Katie Izzo (4:36.65) held the runner-up position throughout the race finishing behind Stanford’s 10:55.89. Behind Arkansas were Florida (11:04.00), Texas (11:04.31) and Oregon (11:15.82).

“It was special because we knew the race could set up to be a qualifier for nationals with the caliber of Stanford, Oregon, Texas and Florida,” said Arkansas women’s coach Lance Harter. “We led off with Carina to try to save her for tomorrow in the mile. She ran fantastic with a 3:22 split. Our quarter-miler had a huge breakthrough, Morgan Burks-Magee just did a great job of getting us close in an attack mode.

“Krissy Gear has so much fire, she’s not going to be denied and worked her way up to keep us close with Stanford. A 2:05 is a huge PR for her. Anchoring with Katie Izzo, she’s going to give you everything she’s got, and she was running against a pure 1,500m runner. A 4:36 split is her PR and Izzo is a warrior when a baton is in her hand, in fact she is a warrior any time she’s on the track.”

Bailee McCorkle produced a career best of 14-0 (4.27) as runner-up in the pole vault to a 14-4 (4.37) performance by Georgia’s Kayla Smith.

McCorkle moves to No. 10 performer on the Arkansas all-time indoor list.

In the pentathlon, G’Auna Edwards totaled a career best of 4,004 points to place fifth among a field of 18 entrants. She bettered her previous best score of 3,840 from 2018 as the hurdles and long jump provided the catalyst for the improved tally.

“It was good, but I feel I could have run a little harder in the hurdles,” said Edwards. “But it’s hard for me to run without the competition. So, I need to get that right. I could have gone further in the long jump on my second attempt, it’s just about execution.

“It’s a pretty positive score right now, it’s not the best I can do, but I need to get stronger in the 800m and put some points up there.”

Edwards established an early lead over the field with a quick clocking of 8.36 seconds in the 60m hurdles for 1,048 points.

A 5-7¾ (1.72) high jump earned 879 points, then she added 530 points from a 32-10 ¼ (10.01) in the shot put.

A leading long jump leap of 20-9 ¼ (6.33) picked up 953 points, moving Edwards into second place just 39 points behind Lauren Taubert of Kansas State (3,449).

Then Edwards finished her first multi as a Razorback with a 2:38.19 in the 800m to score 594 more points.

Taubert won the pentathlon with a collegiate leading 4,352 points over a 4,204 for Georgia’s Anna Hall and 4,142 by Oregon’s Mathilde Rey. Edwards currently ranks sixth in the nation this season.

Arkansas alum Sandi Morris cleared 15-5 ½ (4.71) to claim an Olympic development pole vault competition which included Megan Clark (14-3 ¼) and Daylis Caballero Vega (14-3 ¼).

Action in the Razorback Invitational continues on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. with the 3,000 meters. Featured events in the 1-4 p.m. time frame will be shown on SEC Network+.

Information from Razorback Sports Communications is included in this story.