WALNUT, California – Razorback Ayden Owens broke the collegiate record with a world-leading score of 8,528 points to win the decathlon at the 2022 Mt. SAC Relays on Thursday.
“I just came here to execute,” said Owens. “I listen to Coach Geopfert, and I put up a good ten events and focused on the process. The result was great, 8,500 points. I feel blessed to be in this situation.
“It’s a big score, but there is a lot more to come. It you look at my decathlon here, there are some good performances, some mediocre performances, and some bad performances. That’s how a decathlon goes. Once we clean that up going throughout the season and tune things up, it’s going to be pretty crazy come June and July.”
The previous wind-legal collegiate record was 8,484 points set by Georgia’s Karel Tilga in April of 2021. Owens improved his own Puerto Rican national record, topping his previous best score of 8,238 set in 2021 during the Big 10 Championships while he competed for Michigan.
“I’m super proud of him,” stated Arkansas associate head coach Travis Geopfert. “The way he’s handling the decathlon, in terms of managing each event has just been phenomenal. With swirling winds today, particularly in the pole vault, he did a fantastic job of managing all of that.
“His showed his guts again to go out there for a record in the 1,500m. The conversation beforehand, I told him what he needed to do to break 8,500. He said I don’t want to hear that, tell me what I need to run. He’s a phenomenal athlete, a great person, and I’m super happy for him.”
After nine events, Owens tally of 7,669 already ranked him No. 6 on the UA all-time list among 10-event scores. Following a victory in the 1,500m with a career best time of 4:13.17, Owens claimed the Arkansas school record, breaking the previous mark of 8,097 set last year by Markus Ballengee.
Daniel Spejcher is No. 6 on the UA all-time list as he placed fourth in the decathlon with a career best score of 7,881 to better his previous best of 7,707. Noah Swaby finished 10th with a tally of 7,317 points.
In evening distance racing, Amon Kemboi clocked a career best of 28:02.24 as runner-up in the Invitational 10,000m. Kemboi ranks No.2 on the UA all-time list, second only to the school record 27:52.10 set in 2009 by Shawn Forrest.
Notre Dame’s Dylan Jacobs ran 28:01.94 to win the encounter with Kemboi by the narrowest of margins after 25 laps of racing as the pair produced the top pair of collegiate times this season. Current Razorback Carter Persyn and Arkansas alum Gilbert Boit assisted with pacing duties earlier in the race.
Kemboi’s performance improved his previous best of 28:55.64, which was set in the 2018 Raleigh Relays.
Racing in the 5,000m during the Bryan Clay Invitational at Azusa Pacific, career best efforts were registered by four Razorbacks.
Patrick Kiprop bettered his indoor PR with a 13:35.84, his outdoor debut, to place 11th in the first section. Myles Richter (13:49.60) and Emmanuel Cheboson (13:57.28) finished 11th and 14th, respectively, in the second section as both set outdoor best times. Josh Shearer set a PR pf 13:59.01 to place 10th in the third section.
After establishing a first day score of 4,483 points, Owens added 4,045 on day two. He started off with a quick 1,000 points as he led the field with a 13.80 in the 110m hurdles.
Swaby topped the field in the discus with a toss of 153-6 (46.80) with Spejcher runner-up at 142-8 (43.48). Owens was fourth with a 141-1 (43.00). In the pole vault, Spejcher cleared 16-0.75 (4.90) to match his career best and shared the lead with Texas Tech’s Gary Haasbroek. Owens was third at 15-5 (4.70), which equaled his outdoor PR.
A throw of 201-9 (61.51) in the javelin placed Swaby second among the field, Spejcher was fifth at 181-2 (55.23) while Owens picked up 641 points off a 175-6 (53.50) toss.
Sporting a 4:23.57 career best in the 1,500m from last season, Owens needed a 4:19.42 to break the wind-legal collegiate record. Owens lowered his career best by over 10 seconds as he attempted to run 4:11 in order to better the all-conditions collegiate best of 8,539w by Texas A&M’s Lindon Victor in 2017, but came up 12 points shy.
“I feel honored to be in that company,” noted Owens. “I competed against Lindon my freshman year at the Bryan Clay meet. He said you’re going to be the guy to take my record. He said that three years ago.
“Tonight, I wanted it, but it’s going to leave me something on the table to be motivated to go after. Some ways I’m happy it ended this way because I’m hungry.”
Owens also bettered the World Athletics Championships standard of 8,350 points for the event that will be held in Eugene, Oregon, this summer.