AYETTEVILLE – The No. 1 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team leads the competition after day one of the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks totaled 30 points in front of 3,178 fans Friday, highlighted by an NCAA-title performance by sophomore Andrew Irwin in the pole vault. Competition begins Saturday at 11 a.m. (CT) with the conclusion of the heptathlon. Finals in the running events start at 6 p.m.
Down to one last attempt to stay in the competition, Irwin responded with a clearance at 18-4.5 and went on to clear the next two heights with first-attempt makes to turn the pressure onto the competition. The Mount Ida, Ark., native finished off the event with a final and school-record clearance of 5.70m/18-8.25. The win marked a success defense of the NCAA title he won last year as a freshman in Nampa, Idaho.
As a program, the Razorbacks now have 56 NCAA event titles. Irwin’s victories in the indoor pole vault are the only such wins in school history. Irwin is the program’s first back-to-back NCAA champion since Alistair Cragg pulled consecutive 3K-5K doubles in 2003 and 2004.
“It’s nerve racking when it comes down to the third attempt,” Irwin said following his win. “Luckily I was able to get down there and get off the ground really well, and make it. Being able to come down on the first attempt and get the first bar out of the way really settles those nerves. To come down and do the same thing on the second attempt for the second bar, that was really nice, too.
“I don’t like going to those third attempts, but sometimes you have to. I got my ten points, which is going to help our team tremendously. Hopefully, they’ll go out and win more events and get us more points, and we can pull this out.”