Men & Women’s NCAA Track

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE – Although netting All-American three team points sixth-place performances Friday from long jumper Ryan Brown and their distance medley relay team, the Arkansas Razorbacks men’s team fell out of team title contention at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships concluding Saturday at Arkansas’ Randal Tyson Indoor Track.

Problems that began with SEC hepathlon runner-up and nationally third-seeded Markus Ballengee having to withdraw because of a strained quadriceps muscle during Thursday’s first day of the 2-day heptathlon manifested with Razorbacks Amon Kemboi, Gilbert Boit, Jacob McLeod and Matt Young shut out from scoring top eight place scoring finishes in Friday’s 5,000 meter run.

Kemboi, particularly harbored high hopes but got overcome (13:50.10) trying to match the early pace of Oregon’s Wesley Kiptoo winning in a meet record 13:23.77.

“Amon wasn’t running for second or third or fourth or fifth,” Arkansas Men’s Coach Chris Bucknam said. “He wanted to give it a shot but the pace was torrid, the first mile 4:06, and it was just too much for him. That was the fastest 5K in NCAA history. Jacob McLeod runs 13:39 and gets 10th, 13:33 was eighth place. It was an insanely fast race and Amon paid the price.”

Kemboi and Boit and are qualified for Saturday’s 3,000-meter final and slated along with McLeod and Young to run Monday’s NCAA Men’s Cross Country Championships in Stillwater, Okla.

“That’s the plan but we’ll see how they feel,” Bucknam said. “They went to the well today so we’ll talk to them tomorrow morning and go from there, and cross country as well.”

Bucknam was pleased with the DMR, anchored by Andrew Kibet’s 3:59 mile, and Brown’s 25-8 1-4 All-American long jump and that 800-meter runner Kieran Taylor, second in his heat (1:49.01) and 60-meter hurdlers Phillip Lemonious, 7.60 and Tre’Bien Gilbert, 7.73, advanced in Friday prelims to Saturday’s 8-man final.

Etamar Bhasektar, withdrawing from Friday’s heptathlon after falling during the hurdles, competes in Saturday’s pole vault and the Razorbacks close the meet with “a good 4×400 relay,” Bucknam said.

Friday night’s session of the NCAA Women’s Indoor Championships concluded with SEC champion Arkansas totaling 10 points with Texas A&M leading with 26.

The Razorbacks’ distance medley relay (10:57.19) with Brigham Young University DMR prevailing, amassed eight second-place team points.

Greenwood’s Bailee McCorkle, 14-3 1-2, pole vaulted an All-American eighth for one team point adding to the eighth-place pentathlon point that G’Auna Edwards scored Thursday.

Katie Izzo, ninth, and Edwards, ninth, just missed scoring in Friday’s 5,000-meter run and long jump.

In Friday prelims, Coach Lance Harter’s Razorbacks advanced Kennedy Thomson, Gracie Hyde and Krissy Gear to Saturday’s mile final and advanced Rosey Effiong and Tina Wilson to Saturday’s 400-meter dash final and will field the SEC’s 4 x400 champion relay team.

Daszay Freeman Arkansas advanced in Friday’s 60-meter hurdles prelim to Saturday’s final

Razorbacks Izzo, Lauren Gregory, Logan Morris and Abby Gray are qualifiers for Saturday’s 3,000-meter run final.

Jada Baylark, equalled the 7.15 school record advancing to Saturday’s final in the 60-meter dash.

““We advanced really well across the board,” Harter said. “A couple of the finals didn’t go to perfection, but at a national championship that’s hard to dial in to. We had some nice scoring today in the distance medley, getting second to a BYU team that had to run its legs off to get ahead of us.”

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