SEC OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS:

Razorbacks back on track with 1-2-3 finishes

By: MARK MALONEY
Published: Sunday, May 18, 2014
Arkansas long jumper Raymond Higgs makes a jump Friday night, March 8, 2013, during the 2013 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Complex in Fayetteville.
Photo by Michael Woods
Arkansas long jumper Raymond Higgs makes a jump Friday night, March 8, 2013, during the 2013 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Complex in Fayetteville.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — As simple as 1-2-3, the Arkansas men got back on schedule Saturday at the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Champion- ships.

A 1-2-3 finish in the long jump propelled the Razor- backs back into the thick of the title hunt.

And apparently what’s good for the men also is good for the women, who went 1-2-3 in the pole vault.

Raymond Higgs, Jarrion Lawson and Anthony May accounted for the long-jump sweep. Higgs, a senior, soared 26 feet and three-quarters of an inch to Lawson’s 26-0. May went 25-8 1⁄4 on his final attempt to move from fourth place into third.

“Obviously the 1-2-3 finish was a shot in the arm that we needed,” Coach Chris Buck- nam said. “We were, as I men- tioned yesterday, 10 points shy of where we thought we were supposed to be and we got those points back and then some, so we’re back in the game. We’re back where we want to be.

“No question, we have

more work to do. I think A&M is emerging as a huge obsta- cle for us right now and we’re goingtohavetohavethebest meet of the year tomorrow if we’re going to get close to winning this thing. So a lot of work to do, but I certainly love the way our guys competed today.”

Through six of 21 events, Georgia leads Arkansas 52- 51 in the men’s standings. Alabama has 29 and Texas A&M 25. Top-ranked Florida is lurking, tied for sixth with 11 points.

Arkansas’ women’s pole vaulters were led by Sandi Morris, who cleared 14-9 be- fore missing a college-record 15-1 3⁄4. Then came Danielle Nowell and Ariel Voskamp, who each cleared 13-11 1⁄4.

“I was very happily sur- prised,” Morris said. “I had tears of joy when I finished, becauseitstartedoutpretty windy and pretty cold, but the weather held out for us. I couldn’t have done it with- out my teammates right there with me cheering. ... It was the best feeling I’ve ever experi- enced.”

After nine women’s finals, Arkansas is on top with 77 points and is trailed by Geor- gia (54 1⁄2), Missouri (51) and top-ranked Florida (39 1⁄2).

“What a day. Fantastic day,” said Lance Harter, Arkansas’ women’s coach. “We’re way ahead of any type of pre-idea of what we could possibly do.”

As for the men, the Hogs

also got a dominating perfor- mance by Stanley Kebenei in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

“Stanley, obviously he’s one of the best steeplers in the country,”Bucknamsaid.“With Raymond Joseph getting a sixth place and a much-need- ed three points — everything, it matters at this point.”

Kebenei, a junior from Ken- ya, won by nearly 13 seconds in 8:40.98.

“No, it wasn’t difficult ac- tually because I’ve done 8:24 before,” Kebenei said. “So I knew this was my second race of the season, so to me it was just kind of testing myself.”

UA qualifiers for today’s finals include Patrick Rono in the 1,500 meters and Omar McLeod in the 110-meter hur- dles.

Just as Kebenei did in the men’s race, Grace Heyms- field prevailed in the women’s steeplechase. She finished in 9:57.14, trailed by Mississippi State’sCorneliaGrieschein 10:00.58. Then came the Hogs’ Jessica Kamilos.

Other UA point-scorers included Kirsten Hesseltine, third in the high jump; Tamara Meyers, fourth in the long jump; and Amethyst Boyd, seventh in the javelin.

Chrishuna Williams led qualifying in the women’s 400 in 52.43, and teammate Taylor Ellis-Watson also advanced.

Arkansas’ women’s team qualified three in the 1,500 meters, led by Stephanie Brown with a time of 4:21.75. Also moving on were Keri McClary and Paige Johnston.

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