No. 3 Razorbacks produce more national qualifiers on second day of Tyson Invitational

Shawn Price

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas’ nationally third-ranked indoor track team 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 placing ninth 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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