FAYETTEVILLE — Among a trio of victories in the Arkansas Qualifier on Friday, the Razorbacks produced a 1-2 finish in a pair of events and displayed their depth in the 400-meters.
Racing in Winston-Salem, the Arkansas distance medley improved its time and standing on the current collegiate list.
Roman Turner and Keshawn Andrews were the first pair of Razorbacks to accomplish a 1-2 finish on the night, with times of 6.75 and 6.77 in the 60-meter. Then Gilbert Boit and Graham Brown completed the feat in the 3,000-meter. Boit clocked 8:07.12 with Brown nearing his career best with an 8:22.88.
Jalen Brown established a career best of 46.27 to lead a 2-3-4-5-6 performance by the Razorbacks in the 400-meter.
Following were Hunter Woodhall (46.92), James Milholen (47.02), Nick Hilson (47.16) and Lesley Mahlakoane (47.34). Brown’s effort moves him to No. 10 on this season’s collegiate list.
“It was a good pre-meet to the SEC Championships,” said Arkansas men’s assistant coach Doug Case. “The 400-meter group ran really well, and I think we had four PRs from them tonight. Now we have a couple of sprinters who rank among the top 10 in the NCAA 400-meter list. All the short sprinters and hurdles ran right around their best times, it was a good tune-up for SECs.
“Gilbert Boit ran a nice time in the 3,000-meter, which will get him into the fast heat in the conference meet. We also had a group race in the distance medley relay and those guys ran a time that puts them fifth in the nation, which is a good performance when you convert the time over. We expect to have a really good SEC meet.”
In North Carolina, the Razorbacks clocked 9:39.16 as runner-up to BYU (9:38.02) and ahead of Virginia Tech (9:40.07) and Washington (9:43.45). The crew running for Arkansas included Luke George (2:59.08), Travean Caldwell (47.93), Kieran Taylor (1:51.66) and Cameron Griffith (4:00.48).
With the event being run on a flat 200m track, the time for Arkansas will convert to 9:31.40 and currently ranks the team fifth on the NCAA descending order list. More DMR races are scheduled for Saturday at Notre Dame.
In the 60m hurdles at the Arkansas Qualifier, the Razorbacks placed four in the final. Carl Elliott III won the race in 7.81 as Tre’Bien Gilbert finished third in 7.89. Then multi-event athletes Daniel Spejcher (8.22) and Tyler Brendel (8.28) finished fifth and seventh.
Tylin Jackson set a PR of 21.09 as runner-up in the 200m, finishing as the top collegian, behind a 20.84 for alum Kenzo Cotton. Reese Walters ran 1:53.86 to place second in the 800m.
Multi-eventers Etamar Bhastekar and Markus Ballengee both cleared 16-0¾ in the pole vault. After the hurdles final, Brendel long jumped 22-2 ¼ with Spejcher reaching a distance of 21-11½.
Information from Razorback Sports Communications is included in this story.
Hogs don’t win any individual titles, but takes SEC Championship
Claiming it’s 24th SEC Indoor championship since joining the league, the Razorbacks achieved the title with a very rare feat this year.
Claiming it’s 24th SEC Indoor championship among the 30 contested since Arkansas joined the league, the Razorbacks achieved the title with a very rare feat.
Arkansas displayed the importance of its depth in securing the team title without an individual or relay title among the 17 events contested indoors.
It’s the first time in the history of the SEC Indoor, dating back to 1957, for a team to accomplish a championship in such a manner.
“I’m just so proud of this team and the coaches,” said Arkansas men’s coach Chris Bucknam. “They did a phenomenal job. From way back in August to now it’s been really tough doing all the things we had to do. But they got into a flow, listened to their coaches, and we just had a great meet. It’s a great victory for our program.”
Arkansas totaled 116 points for the victory, scoring in every event except three – 200m, high jump and shot put.
The Razorbacks also completed its third set of consecutive titles since 2013, when the conference expanded to its current configuration. The set of title years includes 2013 and 2014, 2016 and 2017, as well as 2020 and 2021.
“It shows our depth, but also shows how tough this conference is and the great athletes across the board,” noted Bucknam of winning a team title without an individual or relay title. “It’s hard to compete in this league and on top of that to win.
“We put the lineup together to score points. We might not have hit any homeruns, but we hit a lot of doubles and triples and singles. Our on base percentage was pretty good at the end of the day because we ended up winning the meet.”
Finishing behind the Razorbacks were LSU (93), Alabama (72), Ole Miss (70.5), Florida (57), Tennessee (50), Kentucky (47), Auburn (45), Texas A&M (44.5), Georgia (31), South Carolina (16), Missouri (15), and Mississippi State (5).
“We scored big points from the heptathlon to the 5,000,” said Bucknam. “We had great races in between that, whether it was the hurdles or the 60 dash, mile and 3k. Our jumpers did a phenomenal job. Overall, it was a team victory across the board. Now it’s on to nationals.”
Amon Kemboi led the Razorbacks with 14 points with a silver medal in the mile (3:58.56) and bronze medal in the 3,000m (8:04.63).
Kemboi and mile winner Waleed Suliman of Ole Miss (3:58.28) both bettered the meet record of 3:59.4 that was set back in 1976. Andrew Kibet picked up points for Arkansas placing sixth (4:03.49).
In the 3,000m, Kemboi finished behind Mario Garcia Romo of Ole Miss (8:03.99) and Alabama’s Eliud Kipsang (8:04.27).
The Razorbacks scored 12 points in the race, securing the team title. Supplying the additional points in the 3,000 were Jacob McLeod (8:06.15), Gilbert Boit (8:06.23), and Ryan Murphy (8:08.18), who placed 6-7-8.
Sprint and hurdle events added 21 points. In the 60 hurdles, Tre’Bien Gilbert and Phillip Lemonious finished third and fourth behind a pair of LSU hurdlers. Gilbert set a career best of 7.70, improving his No. 5 position on the UA all-time list, while Lemonious ran 7.17.
Kristoffer Hari (6.77) and Roman Turner (6.78) finished third and sixth in the 60 while James Milholen (47.63) placed eighth in the 400.
Five more points were added to the tally when Kieran Taylor placed fourth in the 800 with a 1:50.44.
Field event points included three in the pole vault with Etamar Bhastekar, sixth at 16-10 ¾ (5.15), and Rhett Nelson, seventh at 16-6 ¾ (5.05), while Ryan Brown added a point in the triple jump with a leap of 51-7 ¼ (15.73) for eighth place. John Baker finished ninth with a 51-0 ¼ (15.55).
Arkansas closed out the meet with a fifth-place effort in the 4×400 relay, posting a time of 3:05.07 with a foursome of Jadon Bartholomew (48.32), Jalen Brown (45.53), James Milholen (45.13), and Rhayko Schwartz (46.09).
Arkansas moves into lead on second day of SEC Indoor
Arkansas moved into the team lead during the second day of the SEC Indoor Championships by scoring 50 points Friday.
Arkansas moved into the team lead during the second day of the SEC Indoor Championships by scoring 50 points Friday from three finals inside Randal Tyson Track Center.
The Razorbacks have scored 57 points overall and lead the field by 23 points through six of 17 finals. Following the Hogs are LSU (34), Ole Miss (25), Alabama (20), Auburn (18.5), Georgia (17), Tennessee (16), Texas A&M (16), and Florida (15).
“I’m so proud of our guys, they were dialed in and ready to go,” stated Arkansas men’s coach Chris Bucknam. “Ryan Brown got us started with an incredible jump and that was an amazing competition.
“Obviously, the heptathletes were working hard for two days and picked up some big team points along with some personal best scores. There’s more in the tank with those guys. I’m excited to watch those guys in the national championship.”
Arkansas totaled 27 points in the 5,000m final off a 2-3-4-5-6-8 finish. Gilbert Boit led the squad, producing a time of 14:01.25 as the silver medalist, while Jacob McLeod earned the bronze medal with a 14:03.98.
“I was hoping to win,” stated Boit. “Everything is about the points we can score, and we ended up with 27 as a team which is a nice total for the distance guys. We had to decide to help each other as team since we had six guys in the race.”
The Razorback distance crew also included Ryan Murphy with a career best of 14:04.88 in fourth place, along with Matt Young (5th, 14:10.61), Emmanuel Cheboson (6th, 14:11.66), and Myles Richter (8th, 14:14.65).
“In the 5k, the team points we scored there were huge,” noted Bucknam. “I’m pleased with that group, it was outstanding.”
Arkansas totaled 17 points from three Razorbacks finishing 2-4-5 in the heptathlon. Markus Ballengee repeated as silver medalist with a career best score of 5,898 points, improving his tally at the No. 4 position on the UA all-time list. Georgia’s Kyle Garland defended his title with a career best score of 6,012.
“It’s another great year with a repeat of last year,” said Ballengee. “We did even better this year. I think we’re right on the border of having all three of us qualifying for NCAA Indoor, which is super exciting. It’s so nice having teammates competing with you in an event like this, where we can rely and lean on each other.
“A silver medal is nice again. I’m just happy we got points for our team in the SEC Championships. It gets us closer to winning another team title.”
Daniel Spejcher set a career best of 5,654 points, moving to No. 7 on the UA all-time list, while Etamar Bhastekar scored 5,650 and was just shy of his PR of 5,680.
Ballengee’s second day included an 8.10 (957 points) in the 60m hurdles, a 15-11 (865) pole vault and 2:47.10 (796) in the 1,000m. Spejcher generated marks of 8.12 (952), 14-11 (775), and 2:45.19 (817). Bhastekar’s day included 8.27 (915), 16-6 ¾ (926) and 2:46.18 (806).
In a long jump competition including a pair of leaps over 27 feet and four more entrants over 26 feet, the Razorbacks collected a bronze medal and six points from Ryan Brown, who produced a career best of 26-7 ¾ (8.12) competing in the first flight of jumpers.
“I don’t even have the words to explain it,” Brown said of his stellar jump. “It was well overdue. It was time to produce.
“It really was a great competition. I’ve been dreaming of a competition like this coming from a DII school. Being in this competition and finishing in the top three, I’m elated.”
Brown, who bettered his previous indoor best of 26-5¾ (8.07), ranked 12th among SEC jumpers with a season best of 24-9 (7.54). His career best effort moves him to No. 7 on the UA all-time indoor list.
LSU’s JuVaughn Harrison claimed the long jump title with a meet record mark of 27-4 (8.33), which bettered the previous mark of 27-0¾ (8.25) by Florida’s Marquis Dendy in 2013. Silver medalist Carey McLeod of Tennessee matched the previous meet record.
Arkansas qualified eight from prelim races to Saturday’s finals and will total 19 entries on the final day.
Advancing to finals were Amon Kemboi and Andrew Kibet in the mile, Phillip Lemonious and Tre’Bien Gilbert in the 60 hurdles, James Milholen in the 400, Roman Turner and Kristoffer Hari in the 60, and Kieran Taylor in the 800.
“You have to get those guys in if you want to score points,” noted Bucknam. “So that was really good. Overall, we have 19 athletes competing tomorrow and that’s the most of any team. We’re sitting in a good position, now we just need to close the hatch. We need to finish it off.”
Lemonious set a career best time of 7.68 to finish as the top qualifier in the hurdles. His time ranks No. 4 on the UA all-time list. Gilbert also set a career best of 7.74, third best among qualifiers, and moved to No. 5 on the UA all-time list.
“Phillip is getting smoother and really comfortable over the hurdles,” said Bucknam. “That takes time, and we didn’t have him available for our first three meets this season. Seeing his progression with Coach Case, he’s doing a phenomenal job. Tre’Bien had another big race and that’s been in the works.”
Another career best was turned in by Milholen with a 46.59, which secured the eighth and final spot to reach the final.
The men’s session on Saturday starts at 12:30 p.m. with field events while running finals begin at 2 p.m.
Bucknam disappointed placing second in team totals at Tyson Invitational
Arkansas completed its quest to produce national qualifier during Tyson Invitational, while falling just short of winning the team title.
No. 3 Arkansas completed its quest to produce national qualifier during this weekend’s Tyson Invitational, while falling just short of winning the team title.
Among a national caliber field of teams competing inside Randal Tyson Track Center, Texas edged the Razorbacks in team scoring, 82-76, with Alabama (68) and Florida State (66) in a tight finish for third place. The rest of the field included Oregon (60), LSU (48.5), Texas A&M (40.5), and Florida (38).
“It was good meet, and we got a lot of things done this weekend,” stated Arkansas men’s head coach Chris Bucknam. “I was a little disappointed that we didn’t come out on top of the team scoring at the end. Texas had 82 points and we were second with 76.
“You can see how balanced all these teams are and it shows you the type of competition we’re up against. It was a great meet all around with some great individual performances.”
In addition to qualifying the distance medley relay for the NCAA Championships, the Razorbacks also wanted to get individuals qualified in distance events. Saturday’s mission involved the 5,000m, which was won by Amon Kemboi in 13:38.85 while teammates followed in places 3-4-5-9-10-11-13.
That time currently ranks fifth in the nation, and placed Kemboi at No. 4 on the Arkansas all-time list. Joining Kemboi with times that penetrated the all-time UA list were Gilbert Boit, clocking 13:40.20 to move to No. 6, Jacob McLeod with a 13:41.26 which ranks No. 8, along with a 13:42.59 for Matt Young that is now No. 11.
“Amon is a special athlete, and I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg,” said Bucknam. “It would have been nice to just run him once this weekend, but we needed that DMR. He had no problem taking the stick for us on the anchor.
“Having him come back and running what he did in the 5k just shows you what kind of athlete he is. I’m also proud of Gilbert Boit, who decided to slow a bit with a mile to go, then picked it up and really made that race roll at the end. It was a good group of distance runners with all those kids in the race and I’m pleased with how they performed. Hopefully, those times will get them into the NCAA Championship.”
The next wave of Razorbacks in the 5,000m included Myles Richter (14:11.46), Ryan Murphy (14:17.42), Emmanuel Cheboson (14:19.24), and Josh Shearer (14:52.64).
Kieran Taylor produced a career best of 1:48.32 in finishing third in the 800m a day after giving his all in running the opening 1,200m leg of the DMR. Following with PRs in the race were Reese Walters (1:51.86), Luke George (1:52.34) and Ethan Carney (1:53.45).
“Kieran is such a great team player,” stated Bucknam. “He ran the lead leg of the DMR on Friday night, and it’s a real stretch for him distance-wise. He was seeing stars after that race, it really knocked him out. I’m proud of his effort, but he really belongs on that 800m leg when we finally put that together, because that’s his specialty.
“The other thing that helped us is that we had a good race from Andrew Kibet, who missed a couple of months of critical training after the cross country season. He’s just coming back. Opening up with a 4:02 is going to give us that lead-off leg in the DMR. Then we can put KT back in that 800m leg belongs in. It was good to finally see Kibet compete.”
Kibet clocked a career best of 4:02.27 to place sixth while Tommy Romanow also ran a PR in winning his section and placing ninth overall in 4:09.76. Kibet bettered his previous best of 4:04.51 while Romanow improved upon his 4:19.60 debut earlier this season.
Alabama’s Eliud Kipsang won the mile in 3:56.88 over a pair of Longhorns, Yusuf Bizimana (3:57.81) and Crayton Carrozza (3:59.79), with Oregon’s EJ Holland (3:59.95) completing the sub-4 mile crew.
Ryan Brown placed fourth in a very competitive triple jump, hitting a distance of 52-3 ¾ (15.94). The leading trio included Oregon’s Emmanuel Ihemeje (53-7 ¾ | 16.35), Sean Dixon-Bodie of LSU (53-6 ¼ | 16.31), and Alabama’s Christian Edwards (53-6 ¼ | 16.31).
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