Season-opening dual win for No. 7 Razorbacks
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 7 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team opened its 2013 season with a dual victory over Oklahoma State Friday at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The Razorbacks collected nine event titles on their way to an 81-61 win. Arkansas was paced by multiple winners Makeba Alcide, Gwendolyn Flowers, Ivanique Kemp and Tamara Myers.
"We brought everyone back a little early and we’ve been working their tails off,” head coach Lance Harter said. “The opportunity that they’d step up and run nine lifetime PRs is more than anyone could dream of. We had some great performances. Sandi Morris was competing in her first meet for us and threatening 14 feet in the pole vault. Makeba Alcide, in a one-hour pentathlon, was remarkable.
“I think we’re in a spot where our middle-distance and distance crew could do some good things. Then, Gwen Flowers ran a huge PR in the 300 (meters). I know we ran some off-distance events but I think those give us a good indication of what we’re going to see next week and the weeks to come.”
Myers wrapped the day with three event wins. Individually, she swept the top spot in the long jump and triple jump with personal-best marks in both events. Myers finished the dual meet with efforts of 6.10m/20-0.25 in the long jump and 12.95m/42-6 in the triple jump. With her mark in the triple jump, she equaled the fourth-best jump in school history. She also collected a win as the third leg of the 4x400-meter relay.
On the track, Flowers raced to first-place performances at 60 and 300 meters. She posted a winning time of 7.63 in the first 60-meter race of her collegiate career. She returned to the track an hour later to post the second-fastest time in school history at 300 meters, crossing the finish line in a personal-best time of 38.49, just .1 off the school record held by former Razorback standout Whitney Jones.
Replicating a pentathlon over the course of the two-hour meet, Alcide competed in six events and came away with two wins and three personal bests. She tied teammate Kirsten Hessletine for the win in the high jump and anchored the Razorbacks’ 4x400-meter relay to a win. During the meet, Alcide set career-best performances at 600 meters (1:34.54) and shot put (12.23m/40-1.5), and tied her PR in the 60-meter hurdles (8.62).
Kemp was the fourth multiple winner for the Razorbacks during Friday’s meet. She came away with an individual title in the 60-meter hurdles and was the second leg was the victorious 4x400-meter relay. The relay team consisted of Alcide, Kemp, Myers and newcomer Megan Paul. Kemp also turned in a personal-best time of 7.73 at 60 meters, good for second place in the event.
In her Arkansas debut, junior transfer Sandi Morris won the pole vault with an NCAA-leading clearance of 4.25m/13-11.25. She was perfect through her first four attempts before missing her initial pass at 13-11.25. Morris enters the Razorback program as a three-time All-America performer in the pole vault, dating back to the first two years of her collegiate career at North Carolina.
Arkansas picked up the win and a pair of personal-best results in the mile. Dominique Scott broke away from the pack to take the tape in a personal-best time of 4:49.74. Teammates Kaitlin Flattmann and Shannon Klenke finished third and fourth, respectively. Klenke turned in a personal-best time of 5:05.17 during the race.
The Razorbacks return to action next weekend with a road trip to College Station, Texas, for the Texas A&M Triangular. Arkansas will be joined at the meet by Southeastern Conference mates LSU and host Aggies. Arkansas’ next home meet will be contested Jan. 25-26 with the Razorback Team Invitational. As part of their home slate, the Razorbacks will also host the 2013 NCAA and SEC Indoor Championships later this winter.
Kendricks Crushes Pole Vault Records (Again) At Blazer Invite
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A record-breaking pole vault performance by sophomore Sam Kendricks highlighted a strong showing by the Ole Miss track and field team at the Blazer Invite on Friday, hosted by UAB at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
Kendricks led the way for the No. 23 Rebel men by clearing 18-1.75 without missing on any attempts. That mark is tied for first in the nation and among the top 10 in the world so far this indoor season. The Oxford, Miss., native shattered his previous school indoor record (17-6.5) by more than half a foot and established new meet and facility records.
“Sam continues to show us that he is one of the elite vaulters not only in this conference, but in the U.S.,” said Ole Miss head coach Brian O’Neal. “He’s still nowhere near the tip of the iceberg, and he continues to raise the bar for not only himself but also for his teammates as one of the leaders of this team. He’s showing everyone what you can accomplish when you work hard.
“It’s exciting to watch the bond between Sam and Coach (Scott) Kendricks. The key thing is that they trust each other, and what you’re seeing is the byproduct of that in Sam’s performances.”
Kendricks’ effort overshadowed an otherwise stellar day by Ricky Robertson, the six-time All-American and 2012 SEC Indoor Field Athlete of the Year. His 7-2.5 in the high jump tied the meet record, and he nearly cleared 7-4.5, which would have tied his own facility record set on Dec. 1, 2012. The senior from Hernando, Miss., also placed second in the long jump with a mark of 24-1.5.
“Ricky did a good job today of competing in two events almost back-to-back,” O’Neal said. “He provided a solid performance in the long jump in a limited role where I only allowed him three attempts, and then jumped at a high level in the high jump.”
“Our team goal this week was to get better than we were last week, and I think across the board we did that,” O’Neal added.
Junior Montez Griffin posted a strong effort in his two individual races on Friday. The Batesville, Miss., native finished runner-up in the 400 meters with a time of 48.48 and sixth in the 200 with a personal-best time of 21.91.
Other strong performances by the Rebel men included sophomore Robert Semien placing fourth in the 60-meter hurdles (8.11), sophomore Malcolm Davis finishing third in the long jump (23-0.5) and freshman Kevin Conway’s third-place result in the shot put (49-3).
In addition, junior Benjamin Lapane and Conway both moved into the top five in the school record books in the weight throw with heaves of 56-3 and 55-9.75, respectively.
“It’s great to see Kevin Conway come in and be the type of guy that we recruited him to be – a dual threat in both throws,” O’Neal said. “And it was a huge personal best for Ben Lapane in the weight throw, as well.”
The women’s side was highlighted by freshman Asia Cooper, who won the 60 meters for the second time in as many college meets. This time she blazed down the track to beat all other competitors with a time of 7.46, just off her winning time of 7.45 on the same track in December. The Jackson, Miss., native placed third in the 200 with a strong mark of 24.54.
Senior Jazmin Miller claimed the weight throw title with a winning toss of 59-9.5.
“I’m very proud of Asia and Jazmin for coming into the season and getting two wins in two meets,” O’Neal said. “That’s the process we’re talking about - getting better each week. Their goal next weekend is to come out and see if they can’t go 3-0.”
Senior Marci Morman placed top five in both the long jump (3rd, 18-8) and triple jump (5th, 40-0.75), while sophomore Taryn Hartfield placed fifth in the 60-meter hurdles with a solid time of 8.73.
Among the teams competing alongside the Rebels were Mississippi State (whose men’s team is ranked No. 20), perennial track power Louisiana Tech, UAB, Jackson State and Division II juggernauts Academy of Art and Johnson C. Smith.
VOLS OFF TO HOT START AT KENTUCKY INVITATIONAL
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Freshman thrower Cameron Brown and the Vols’ pair of distance medley relay teams put an emphatic close to the opening day of the Kentucky Invitational on Friday, as the Tennessee track & field team opened their indoor season at UK’s Nutter Field House for the seventh-straight year.
With 11 other teams present, the 6-foot-6 rookie thrower closed the men’s weight throw preliminary round with a record-setting 61-foot, 8 1/2-inch (18.81m) toss on his third attempt. The mark bested former Vol Richard Wooten’s indoor freshman record of 60-5 (18.41m), which he set at the Virginia Tech Invitational in 2006.
“The highlight of the first day was definitely Cameron Brown,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country J.J. Clark. “To set a freshman school record in his first meet and in a program with such a rich history is great. He looked super on all of his throws. He’ll just need to stay composed and keep it going throughout the year.”
Louisville’s Sam Bombaugh had two tosses over 61 feet in the final round, but fell short of Brown’s first-place mark. Bombaugh finished in second with a distance of 61-1 1/2.
In the final race of the night, the Vols sent two teams out for the distance medley relay on UK’s oversized 300-meter oval and finished 1-2 in the event. The Tennessee B team of Nick Kaiser, Antonio Carter, Jeremy Dickie and Austin Whitelaw finished atop the leaderboard, crossing the line in 10 minutes, 7.97 seconds. The Vols’ A team of Kyle Walter, Joe Franklin, Breon Dixon and Daniel Tobin crossed under a second later in 10.08.81.
“To go 1-2 in the DMR was another nice start,” Clark said. “We had a lot of PR’s today so it was an overall good start to the 2013 season.”
The Lady Vols put forth a solid effort in the women’s DMR, with two teams placing third and seventh, respectively. Indoor All-American Nijgia Snapp kicked off the race for the A squad, while freshman Alexis Panisse anchored the group. Juniors Kianna Ruff and Brittney Jackson filled in the middle slots to take third place in 11:37.3.
The other Lady Vol DMR of Amirah Johnson, Ty-Vonna Johnson, Charity Honeycutt and Kelsey Kane finished seventh in 12:03.74.
Junior pole vaulter Linda Hadfield put forth a career-best effort to open the indoor campaign, finishing second in the event with a clearance on her first attempt at 12 feet, 7 1/2-inches. Sophomore Erin Champion followed Hadfield closely, placing fourth with a personal-best indoor record of 12-3 1/2.
“I was also really happy to see Erin’s and Kasha’s (McDougald) performances, as they both registered new PRs,” said Clark.
The Big Orange had four other Vols competing in the weight throw, as Drew Thomas and Deon McAdoo finished fourth and ninth, respectively. Thomas threw the 35-lb weight 57-3 3/4 on his fifth attempt. Redshirt freshmen Tavis Bailey and Carson Frost placed 11th and 15th in the event, respectively.
In the women’s long jump, sophomore Kasha McDougald advanced to the final round and posted a personal-best mark of 18 feet, 9 3/4-inches on her first leap to finish in ninth place. Fellow Lady Vol Jazmen Townsend finished 19th with a leap of 16-10 3/4 on her third attempt.
Senior Jessie Harrison wound up ninth in the women’s weight throw, notching a 56 foot, 4 3/4-inch toss on her opening throw of the 2013 indoor campaign. Tennessee newcomer ReJean Rouse finished 21st with a top toss of 43-11 1/4 in the event.
Top-ranked Razorbacks outduel No. 3 Texas
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In a season-opening dual, the No. 1 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team knocked off third-ranked Texas Friday evening at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks posted a winning score of 85-78 with the help of nine event wins and eight personal-best performances. Arkansas’ double winners during the meet were Akheem Gauntlett, Raymond Higgs and Anton Kokorin.
“We got off to a good start and I thought we competed well,” head coach Chris Bucknam said. “The times and jumps will all get higher, longer and faster. It’s just a matter of time. What we were looking for today was to get our feet wet again. A lot of these guys hadn’t competed since the SEC Championships last May or the NCAA Championships in June so it’s quite a big step from where they were training in the fall.”
Higgs posted the Razorbacks’ first win of the meet with an NCAA-leading performance in the long jump, establishing a personal best and collegiate leader with a mark of 7.95m/26-1. With the jump, Higgs moved into ninth place on the program’s top-10 list in the event. He completed his sweep of the horizontal jumps with a first-place showing in the triple jump. He finished that event with a mark of 15.15m/49-8.5, another personal best.
On the track, Gauntlett ran to an individual win at 200 meters and anchored the team’s 4x400-meter relay to a victory in the final event of the day. He led a 1-2-3 finish for the Razorbacks in the 200 meters with his time of 20.84. In the relay, he was joined in victory by teammates Neil Braddy, Anton Kokorin and Travis Southard.
Kokorin was Arkansas’ third two-time winner in Friday’s win over the Longhorns. In addition to his effort with the 4x400-meter relay, he held strong for a first-place performance at 400 meters. Making his debut in Cardinal and White, Kokorin closed out the two-lap sprint with a time of 47.56.
Caleb Cross avenged an earlier loss in the hurdle event with a victory at 60 meters. He finished with a personal best time of 6.78, just .02 ahead of Texas’ Keiron Stewart. In the 60-meter hurdles, the two runners faced off with Stewart coming away with a narrow .05 win. Cross’ hurdle time of 7.79 represents the fastest season opener for the Newport, Ark., native.
Reigning NCAA indoor champion Andrew Irwin opened his sophomore campaign with a win in the pole vault. With the victory in hand by way of fewer misses throughout the competition, he shut it down with a final clearance of 5.20m/17-0.75. Teammate Kevin Lazas finished second in the pole vault and tied his personal best. The 1-2 finish for Irwin and Lazas gave Arkansas a late 80-75 lead over the Longhorns in the team standings.
Newcomer Tomas Squella opened his Arkansas career with a victory at 1,000 meters. He held off a late push from Texas’ Patrick McGregor to cross the finish in a time of 2:25.00, just .09 ahead of the hard-charging Longhorn. The top five places in the event finished within a second of one another.
In another Razorback debut performance, Anthony May II won the high jump with a final clearance of 2.18m/7-1.75. He finished with the same mark as teammate Brede Ellingsen but took the win with few misses during the event. May went without a miss through his first six attempts. Devin Randall was the top performer in the throws for the Razorbacks with third- and fourth-place finishes in the shot put and weight throw, respectively.
“(The win) is satisfying,” Bucknam said. “You have to be good when all the chips aren’t going your way. We had a bunch of distance runners that didn’t run today, so we looked a little weak in the distance area tonight but we have a lot of talent there. And without them, we were still able to pull off a win. Things weren’t perfect and we didn’t show every card we had, and yet we were still able to match the No. 3 team in the country and beat them.”
Wildcat Friday Update
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky track and field teams produced an exciting evening of results to open the home season on Friday at the Kentucky Invitational inside Nutter Field House.
The Wildcats’ ‘B’ relay team won the women’s distance medley relay as Allison Peare went out with a great opening 1,200-meter split being paced by cross country All-American Cally Macumber, who was competing for the Kentucky ‘A’ squad. Shiara Robinson and Mary Kate Ponder ran the 400 and 800 meter legs respectively positioning the team perfectly for the final stages of the race.
Chelsea Oswald, another cross country All-American, took the baton from Ponder and quickly pulled away from the field in the last 1,600m to give Kentucky “B” the win going away in a time of 11:30.19. That time beat the Kentucky’s best in the event from last season by nearly a second.
Before the DMRs, most of the Friday night action took place in field events. Terence Boyd was one of the top UK finishers as he made his one fair jump of the evening count. Boyd took second in the long jump with a mark of 7.13m/23-04.75.
Ryan Ratliff recorded a personal-record 2.00m/6-06.75 to take fifth in the high jump.
Becky Famurewa narrowly improved on her weight throw from a month ago with a mark of 17.93m/58-10.00.
Bradley Szypka, who currently owns the No. 3 shot put in the nation, notched a PR 17.23m/56-06.50 in the weight throw to place fifth. The mark improved on his season-opening throw from December by more than half a meter.
Conner Neu (17.20m/56-05.25) took sixth in the weight throw and Andrew Evans (16.65m/54-07.50) was eighth.