Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
NCAA Outdoor Championships:
UA women add 5 All-Americans
Arkansas' Jessica Kamilos, right, leads Georgia's Stella Christoforou (452) as Arkansas' Paige Johnson and Shannon Klenke trail Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, while competing in the mile during the Razorback Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.
Arkansas' women's team piled up five All-America honors within a 30-minute span in the pole vault and 3,000-meter steeplechase Friday night at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.
The Razorbacks had three All-American pole vaulters with junior Sandi Morris taking fourth (14-3 1/4); Ariel Voskamp, a sophomore from Cabot, taking fifth (13-9 1/4); and senior Danielle Nowell tying for eighth (13-7 1/4).
Grace Heymsfield, a senior from Elkins, and junior Jessica Kamilos finished sixth and seventh in the steeplechase to give Arkansas two more All-Americans. Heymsfield ran 9:49.01 to break her school record (9.53.65), which also was bested by Kamilos (9:49.75).
"It's nice to get on the scoreboard," Arkansas Coach Lance Harter said. "Hopefully, that gives us a lot of momentum for Saturday to finish up strong."
Arkansas is 11th in the women's team race with 14 1/2 points. Oregon leads with 43 points.
The Arkansas men, who got a fourth-place finish from junior Patrick Rono in the 800 meters Friday night, are tied for 15th in the team race with 11 points. Oregon leads with 53.
Morris came into the meet tied for the national lead at 14-9 with Texas junior Kaitlin Petrillose, who no-heighted. Akron sophomore Annika Roloff cleared 14-5 1/4 to win.
"Sandi technically was a little ragged. She just never got into that groove where she's really on," Harter said. "But it's pretty impressive you can have an off day and still be able to muscle over the bar and get fourth at nationals."
Voskamp and Nowell became the 11th and 12th pole vaulters to earn All-America honors for Arkansas since 2001 under field events coach Bryan Compton. Morris was an All-American last year.
"That shows you how dominant Bryan is in the sport," Harter said. "He's the guru."
Voskamp surpassed her previous career best of 13-11 1/4.
"Ariel was fantastic," Harter said. "Only being a sophomore, she's got a lot of good things ahead of her. She's still developing technically and physically."
Nowell is enrolled in physician assistant's school in Oklahoma City and because of her class schedule didn't fly to Eugene until Thursday night.
"She hadn't had the opportunity to get comfortable with being here, and all of a sudden -- boom! -- she's thrown into the competition," Harter said. "She competed very well considering she just got off the plane."
Heymsfield still has cross country eligibility remaining next fall, but Friday night marked the her last race for the Razorbacks on the track. She repeated as an All-American in the steeplechase after taking seventh last year.
"Grace has had a great career for us. I'm glad we had her hidden away in Elkins," Harter said. "She's considered by her peers to be a great competitor at whatever distance she's in, be it the 800, the 1,500, the steeple or the 5,000. She has such great range."
Kamilos was the No. 22 seed in the steeplechase coming into the NCAA meet.
"She probably pulled off the stunner of the meet as far as people going, 'Who is that?' " Harter said. "She just ran with incredible determination. She was not going to be denied. She pulled up beside Grace and the two of them charged in."
Rono, who ran a personal-best 1:46.46, was among four runners battling for the lead in the final 100 meters of the 800. Mississippi State sophomore Brandon McBride won in 1:46.26, followed by Florida sophomore Ryan Schnulle (1:46.29) and Kentucky junior Keffri Neal (1:46.39).
"Patrick put himself in position to win. He ran a very smart race," said Chris Bucknam, Arkansas' men's coach. "He was a half-stride off of McBride, then the last 20 meters he just faded enough where McBride got him and a couple of other guys got in between them.
"Two-tenths of a second between four guys, all SEC guys. It was a hell of a race."
Arkansas junior Stanley Kebenei, among the favorites in today's steeplechase, finished 16th in the 5,000 Friday night, running 14:03.02. He ran in the steeplechase semifinals Thursday night.
"We tested the waters to see if we could get some points in the 5,000, but Stanley wasn't going in there fresh," Bucknam said. "When he realized he couldn't score, he backed it off."
Arkansas redshirt freshman Ken LeGassey cleared 6-10 3/4 to tie for 15th in the high jump and missed three attempts at 7-0 1/2. Razorbacks senior Noah Kettelson cleared 6-8 3/4 to finish 21st.
Razorbacks sophomore Alex Gochenour finished 11th in the heptathlon with 5,515 points. She long jumped 18-11 3/4. threw the javelin 108-11 and ran the 800 meters in 2:19.67.
Arkansas junior Tamara Myers was 12th in the triple jump (41-11 1/2) and sophomore sophomore Megan Zimlich was 17th in the pole vault (13-3 1/2.)
Arkansas State senior Sharika Nelvis will run in the 100-meter hurdle final today when she'll attempt to win her second NCAA title this year. She won the 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA Indoor meet.
The Razorbacks will compete in the 1,600-meter relay in the men's and women's races. Running for the me are sophomores Jarrion Lawson and Eric Janise and seniors Travis Southard and Neil Braddy.
Braddy, from Fort Smith Southside, will go for his 13th All-America honor.
Arkansas' women's relay team will include freshmen Daina Harper and Regine Williams, sophomore Taylor Ellis-Watson and junior Chrishuna Williams.
Seniors Raymond Higgs and Anthny May will go in the triple jump today for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas senior Stephanie Brown is the national leader going into today's 1,500 meters final. Also competing for the Razorbacks' women's team are juniors Dominique Scott and Diane Robison in the 5,000 and senior Kirsten Hesseltine, from Springdale Har-Ber, in the high jump.
Sports on 06/14/2014