FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas cross country and track & field head coach Chris Bucknam has announced the signing of 12 future Razorbacks who will join the program ahead of the 2019 track & field season.
“I am thrilled with our incoming group of student-athletes this year,” said head coach Chris Bucknam. “This is one of our more talented incoming recruiting classes, and they will help us immediately at the SEC and NCAA championships this coming year. We are excited about each of these individuals and can’t wait for them to get started with our team this fall.”
Headlined by Vernon Turner, a Big 12 Champion and two-time All-American at Oklahoma, and Tre’Bien Gilbert, a USA Today High School All-American and Gatorade Texas Track and Field Athlete of the Year, the recruiting class is comprised of student-athletes from eight states, including two from Arkansas.
Vernon Turner, High Jump | Yukon, Okla./ Yukon High School / University of Oklahoma
Event: High Jump
Personal Best: High Jump – 7’7.75”
Accolades: 2018 Big 12 Outdoor High Jump Champion, Two-Time All-American in High Jump at Oklahoma, Two-time Gatorade Oklahoma Track and Field Athlete of the Year (2016, 2017), Three-time Oklahoma state champion in the high jump (2015, 2016, 2017)
Turner on Arkansas: “I chose Arkansas because of the winning environment and the facilities are the nicest in the country. I’m excited to be a Razorback.”
Turner was the nation’s top-ranked high school high jumper in 2017 and continued that success into his freshman season at Oklahoma. At the Tyson Invitational last season, he jumped 7’7.75” (2.33 meters) ranking him fourth in NCAA history indoors. He went on to place second at the Big 12 Indoor Championships and fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championships, the only freshman to place in scoring position. During the outdoor season, he jumped 7’5.75” to win the Big 12 Outdoor Championship before placing sixth at the NCAA Outdoor Championship.
Tre’Bien Gilbert, Hurdles | Converse, Texas / Judson High School
Events: 110-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles
Personal Bests: 110-meter hurdles – 13.53, 300-meter hurdles – 36.18
Accolades: USA Today High School All-American, Texas Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year, 110-meter hurdle Texas 6A state champion, 300-meter hurdle Texas 6A state champion, 110-meter hurdle school record, 300-meter hurdle school record, 110-meter hurdle area champion, 300-meter hurdle district, area, regional champion 300-meter hurdle city record
Gilbert on Arkansas: “I chose to come to Arkansas because during the recruiting process Arkansas felt like home to me. I am excited to be a Razorback.”
Gilbert was the only high school senior ranked in the nation’s top five in both the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles during the 2018 high school season. He won Texas 6A state titles in both the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles en route to the nation’s fastest high school 110-meter hurdle time (13.53) and the third-fastest 300-meter hurdle time (36.18) in the United States during his senior season. Gilbert also anchored Converse Judson’s 4-x-400-meter relay team to a fourth-place finish at the state championships, accounting for 22.5 of his team’s 49-points and a runner-up team finish at the Texas State Championships. Gilbert was the only double state champion on the track in Texas’s 6A division this year. He also won the 91st Texas Relays 300-meter hurdles title and was District, Area and Region runner-up in the triple jump in 2018.
Rashad Boyd, Sprints | Houston, Texas / Alief Hastings High School
Events: 100-meters, 200-meters
Personal Bests: 100m – 10.61 (10.55w), 200m – 20.93
Accolades: TSU Relays 200-meter champion, 200-meter state qualifier, Texas Relays 100-meter finalist
Boyd on Arkansas: “What gets better than the Arkansas track team?”
Boyd was the twelfth-fastest high school 200-meter runner in the United States during 2018. He placed sixth in the 200-meter final at Texas 6A State Championship and was the Texas 6A Region III runner-up in 200m. His brother, Rakeem Boyd, is an Arkansas football signee.
Travean Caldwell, Sprints and Hurdles | Crossett, Ark. | Crossett High School / Arkansas Baptist College
Events: 400-meters, 400-meter hurdles
Personal Bests: 200-meters – 21.69, 400-meters – 47.30, 400-meter hurdles – 52.77
Accolades: 400-meter hurdle school record at Arkansas Baptist College (52.1), triple jump record at Crossett High School (47’-6″), won Arkansas State Championships Decathlon in 2016 with Crossett High School
Caldwell on Arkansas: “I chose to attend Arkansas because I would like to keep my talent in the state of which I was born! WOO PIG SOOIE!”
Caldwell was an NJCAA National Championships qualifier in the 400-meters (indoors 2017 and 2018) and 400-meter hurdles (outdoors 2017). A frequent visitor to Fayetteville as a member of Arkansas Baptist’s track team, he took third-place at Arkansas Twilight meet in the 400-meter hurdles in 2018.
Kevin Wilkinson, Middle Distance | Moorpark, Calif. | Bishop Alemany High School / Arizona State University
Events: 800-meters, 1500-meters
Personal Bests: 800-meters – 1:50.91, 1,500-meters – 4:00.81
Accolades: 2017 CIF Division 3 Champion, High School 800m school record holder, 2018 Pac-12 800m finalist
Wilkinson on Arkansas: “Fayetteville is a great city where it feels like the whole community revolves around their sports programs. The small town vibe is a lot different for me since I’m originally from Los Angeles and I love the fact that everyone seems welcoming and knows each other… It also doesn’t hurt that the University of Arkansas is in the best conference in the NCAA.”
Wilkinson, a California State Championship qualifier in the 800m as a high school senior in 2017, placed seventh at the Pac-12 Championships as a freshman at Arizona State last year. He also ran a leg on Arizona State’s sixth placing 4×400-meter relay team.
Trey Grayson, Middle Distance | Glenpool, Okla.| Glenpool High School / Oklahoma State University
Events: 400-meters, 800-meters
Personal Bests: 800-meters – 1:51.49, 1,600-meters – 4:16.10, 3,200-meters – 9:43.63
Accolades: Seven-time Oklahoma state champion, six-time All-State team, 11-time USATF Youth Outdoor Champion
Grayson on Arkansas: “I chose to attend Arkansas because the program has the means to take my talents to the next level and that really excites me.”
Grayson swept the distance events at Oklahoma’s 5A State Championships as a high school senior in 2016, winning the 800-meters, 1600-meters, and 3200-meters while pacing his Glenpool team to a state title. During the 2018 season, he raced frequently in Fayetteville as a redshirt freshman middle distance runner for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, winning the 800-meters at the John McDonnell Invitational. Grayson’s mother, Nancy, was a collegiate middle-distance runner and a member of the Kenyan national team.
Carl Elliott, Sprints and Hurdles| Fort Pierce, Fla. | Fort Pierce Central High School / Edward Waters College
Events: 200-meters, 110-meter hurdles, triple jump
Personal Bests: 200-meters – 21.66, 110-meter hurdles – 14.24, TJ – 45’1.25”, LJ – 21’7”
Accolades: Fourth-place in 110-meter hurdles at Florida high school state meet (2016-2017), Edward Waters College 110-meter hurdles and triple jump record holder and conference champion in 110-meter hurdles, 2017-2018 Edward Waters College 110-meter hurdles record holder and conference champion (2016-2017), fifth-place All-America at NAIA Nationals
Elliott on Arkansas: “I chose Arkansas because of the rich history of the program. Seeing all of the successful people that have prospered after attending Arkansas is a dream that I would love to live one day and I know that the University of Arkansas will get me there.”
Elliott was the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference 110-meter hurdles champion in both 2017 and 2018. He scored in the 200-meters, 110-meter hurdles, long jump, triple jump and 4-x-100-meter relay to help Edward Waters College win their conference team title in 2018. Elliott placed fifth at the NAIA National Championships in the 110-meter hurdles in 2017. He finished 2018 ranked seventh in the NAIA in the 110-meter hurdles.
Kyle Costner, Multi-Events | Brentwood, Tenn. | Brentwood High School
Personal Bests: 100-meters – 11.41, 400-meters – 50.2, 110-meter hurdles – 14.81, LJ – 22’1”, TJ – 42’5”, HJ – 6’2”, PV – 13’, SP – 40’, DT – 114’, Decathlon – 6,309-points
Accolades: Eight-time All-State, two-time All-American, Decathlon AAU National Champion
Costner on Arkansas: “I chose Arkansas because of the phenomenal athletics program and coaching staff, as well as the outstanding business school.”
The third-place finisher at the Tennessee decathlon state championships, Costner ranked among the top-25 high school decathletes as a senior in 2018. He also placed third in the state decathlon as a junior before placing tenth at the high school national championships in 2017. An AAU National Champion and multiple time All-American, Costner scored in three events (state runner-up in 110-meter hurdles, third-place finisher in the decathlon, and 8th place finisher in the 300-meter hurdles) helping Brentwood to a runner-up finish at the Tennessee State Championships as a senior.
Brittan Burns, Multi-Events | Prior Lake, Minn. | Lakeville South High School
Personal Bests: 100-meters – 11.85, 400-meters – 52.99, 1,500-meters – 4:52, 110-meter hurdles – 15.24, LJ – 21’8.75”, HJ – 6’4”, PV – 12’6”, SP – 38’1”, DT – 109’4”, JV – 117’8”, Decathlon – 5,873-points
Accolades: Three-time USATF All-American, New Balance Outdoor National Championships three-time qualifier (championship division, decathlon), New Balance Indoor Nationals Championships ninth-place (championship division, pentathlon).
Burns on Arkansas: “Arkansas felt like the best place for me to be for my college career. They are an incredibly talented team that is always contending for championships.”
Burns placed ninth in the pentathlon at the 2018 high school indoor national championships and qualified three times for the decathlon at the national high school outdoor championships. His lifetime best decathlon score of 5,873 came in an eighth-place finish at the Arcadia Invitational during his senior year. His sister, Shaina, was the SEC runner-up in the heptathlon at 2018 SEC Outdoor Championships competing for Texas A&M.
Daniel Spejcher, Multi-Events | Bloomington, Ill. | Lake Park High School
Personal Bests: 100-meters – 11.2, 200-meters – 22.3, 400-meters – 53.2, 110-meters hurdles – 14.99, LJ – 22’11.75”, HJ – 6’3”, PV – 10’6”, SP – 45’4”, DT – 127’6”, JV – 125’8”, Decathlon – 5,715-points
Accolades: Four-time all-conference, three-time all-area.
Spejcher on Arkansas: “Arkansas felt most like home to me during the recruiting process. Fayetteville has a town type of feeling that I’m most comfortable with. Also, I felt connected with the track team when I was there on my official visit.”
Spejcher was an Illinois state qualifier in the long jump during both his junior and senior his senior years. As a high school sophomore, he won the decathlon at his regional USATF Junior Olympic Championships before placing eighth at the National Junior Olympic Championships.
Connor Holzkamper, Multi-Events | Keller, Texas | Liberty Christian School
Personal Bests: 100-meters – 10.90, 200-meters – 22.48, 400-meters – 55.18, HJ – 5-6
Accolades: TSU Relays 200-meter champion, 200-meter state qualifier, Texas Relays 100-meter finalist
Holzkamper on Arkansas: “I chose Arkansas because of the world-class coaching I will receive there. World class coaching equals world-class athletes!”
Holzkamper has only competed in track and field for two years. He played varsity football in 10thand 11th grade and varsity lacrosse in 9th and 10th grade for Liberty Christian School.
Jon Conley, Sprints/Jumps | Fayetteville, Ark. | Fayetteville High School
Events: 100-meters, Long Jump
Conley is the son of legendary Razorback Mike Conley, a 16-time NCAA Champion and two-time Olympic medalist. He competed in the 100-meters and Long Jump for Fayetteville High School.