Fast start leaves UA’s Alcide on top of world

By: Bob Holt
Published: Saturday, January 26, 2013
NWA Media/MICHAEL WOODS --01/25/2013-- Arkansas runner Akheem Gauntlett (front) and Nebraska runner Dexter McKenzie round the last turn in the men's 200m run during Friday night's action in the Razorback Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.
Photo by Michael Woods
NWA Media/MICHAEL WOODS --01/25/2013-- Arkansas runner Akheem Gauntlett (front) and Nebraska runner Dexter McKenzie round the last turn in the men's 200m run during Friday night's action in the Razorback Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.

— Makeba Alcide knew DeeDee Brown set Arkansas’ pentathlon record with 4,141 points at the 2002 SEC Championships.

“I’ve had my eye on this record since I got here,” said Alcide, a senior from Castries, St. Lucia, who came to Arkansas in 2011. “I missed by a few points last year.”

Alcide beat Brown’s 11-yearold record Friday, winning the pentathlon with a school-best 4,464 points at the Razorback Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center. Alcide’s total also is the top mark in the world this indoor season.

“I wasn’t surprised at all,” she said. “I’ve been preparing for six months.”

Alcide had personal bests in four of five events, including 6 feet, 2 1/4 inches in the high jump, which also set a school individual event record, breaking the mark of 5-11 1/2 by Jessica Johnson at the 2003 SEC Championships.

Alcide had the nation’s top high jump mark for about two hours before Arizona senior Brigetta Barrett - the 2012 Olympic silver medalist and a four-time NCAA champion - cleared 6-3 1/4.

“I didn’t know I could jump that high,” Alcide said. “But itfelt really good.”

Alcide’s other personal bests came in the 60-meter hurdles (8.45), long jump (19-3 1/2) and 800 (2:16.94). She tossed the shot put 39-6 1/2.

“When she started off with personal record in the hurdles, that gave her a lot of momentum,” Arkansas Coach Lance Harter said. “It got her confidence up, and then on the high jump she was just delirious.

“She’s stronger and faster, and now it’s paying off in the arena.”

Alcide’s previous best pentathlon finish was 4,126 points at last year’s SEC meet - 15 points shy of Brown’s record.

“I don’t think I’ve peaked,” she said. “I still have a lot of room for improvement. This is just my first one of the year, so hopefully it gets better and better as the season goes on.”

Arkansas sophomore Andrew Irwin cleared 17-5 to win the pole vault. LSU’s Andreas Duplantis also went 17-5 but had more misses at lower heights than Irwin.

It was a season best for Irwin, last year’s NCAA Indoor champion, after he went 17-03/4 at the Arkansas-Texas dual meet two weeks ago. He didn’t compete in a meet at Texas A&M last week because of a hamstring injury.

“He made some bars and made some progress,” Arkansas field events coach Travis Geopfert said. “Now he can get back into his rhythm.

“Pole vault is a rhythm thing and he had to take a couple of weeks with the hamstring. So now he’s got it out of the way and he’ll be ready to go.”

Irwin said he had “a little bit of a sore spot” Friday, but it wasn’t a major problem. He missed his first two attempts at 16-7 1/4, then cleared his third and cleared his first attempts at 17-1 and 17-5 before missing three attempts at 17-9.

“We have been doing really good in practice and it was another day at the office,” Irwin said. “I had a rough start getting over that first bar and then I hung in there the rest of the day.”

Razorbacks junior Kevin Lazas leads the heptathlon through four events with 3,414 points after having the top marks in the 60 meters (6.94), long jump (24-5) and shot put (48-6 1/4). He high jumped 6-7. The heptathlon will finish today with the 60 hurdles, pole vault and 1,000.

“Kevin’s a great competitor,” Arkansas Coach Chris Bucknam said. “It’s his 21st birthday today, so he’s got a little extra juice in his bones.”

Arkansas senior Ahkeem Gauntlett took second in the 200 (20.97) behind Baylor’s Everett Walker (20.81). The Razorbacks also were second in the distance medley relay behind Texas.

Arkansas senior Tarik Batchelor, who is coming back from knee surgery, originally was scheduled to compete in the long and triple jumps, but he pulled out of Friday night’s long jump to focus on today’s triple jump.

“Tarik is OK,” Bucknam said. “We’re just being cautious.”

Arkansas senior Regina George took second in the 200 (23.61) behind Florida’s Kyra Jefferson (23.48).

Arkansas senior Caleb Cross ran a season-best 7.76 in the 60-meter hurdle preliminaries to advance to today’s semifinals.

The meet will continue today with field events starting at 11 a.m. and running events at 12:15 p.m.

Sports, Pages 24 on 01/26/2013

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