Solid Performances Pace Razorbacks to Victory in Arkansas Invitational

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – An opening act on Saturday to start the 2021 indoor season produced a team victory for the Razorbacks in the Arkansas Invitational as they totaled 159 points to better a seven-team field in the Randal Tyson Track Center.

Oklahoma finished as team runner-up with 104 points, followed by Arkansas State (95) and Central Arkansas (54).

In seeing the Razorbacks compete for the first time in over 10 months, Arkansas head coach Chris Buckman was satisfied with the performance.

“It was huge getting back into competition,” said Bucknam. “Even the week leading up to this was different. I was pleased with some of the performances we had.

“It was a very good meet for us. Anytime you win a meet that’s great. We’ve got a longways to go, but certainly we jumped into the deep end and everything is good.”

A spirited race among the Razorbacks occurred in the 1,000m as Amon Kemboi delivered a winning time of 2:23.49 with Kieran Taylor runner-up in 2:23.98, the fifth and sixth best times ever among marks in the Arkansas Invitational.

Following were the trio of Gilbert Boit (2:25.65), Reese Walters (2:26.07) and Andrew Kibet (2:27.89).

In the 60m hurdles a close finish had Markus Ballengee winning in 7.87 seconds, equaling the No. 9 time on the Arkansas all-time list, matching Sean Lightfoot (2000). Ballengee out leaned teammates Carl Elliott III (7.88) and Tre’Bien Gilbert (7.89) for the victory.

James Milholen ran a career best of 46.85 to win the 400m. Roman Turner sped to a runner-up time of 6.73 seconds in the 60m and equaled the No. 10 performance on the Razorback all-time list, matching alum Marqueze Washington (2016).

“We had some good performances across the board and some solid national marks,” noted Bucknam. “Ryan Brown did a great job in the triple jump and it’s good to see Jonathan Baker out there as a freshman jumping well.”

Brown claimed the triple jump with a distance of 52-4.5 (15.96) as he generated three attempts over 52 feet in his series. His effort left him just two inches shy of his career best. Brown bettered three Oklahoma jumpers, who were led by runner-up Rayvon Allen (50-2|15.29).

Bounding down the runway for the first time as a Razorback, freshman John Baker claimed the long jump with a leap of 25-0.75 (7.64) to also defeat OU’s Allen, who had a 24-6.5 (7.48) mark as runner-up.

The 600m had a 1-2 finish for Arkansas as Jadon Bartholomew (1:18.72) and Ethan Carney (1:18.91) had the fourth and fifth best times ever in the Arkansas Invitational.

Another freshman with a solid debut was Ruben Banks placing fourth in the weight throw with a toss of 60-1 (18.31) to claim the No. 3 spot on the Razorback all-time list behind Erich Sullins and Tony Ugoh.

In the 3,000m, Josh Shearer (8:26.81) and Tommy Romanow (8:33.66) finished fourth and sixth.

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