SEC OUTDOOR TRACK:

Women prevail; UA men beaten

By: Mark Maloney Special to the Democrat-Gazette
Published: Monday, May 19, 2014
Diane Robison won the women's 5,000-meter race at the 2014 SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships May 18, 2014, in Lexington, Ky.
Diane Robison won the women's 5,000-meter race at the 2014 SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships May 18, 2014, in Lexington, Ky.

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- For a track and field program that measures success in championships, Arkansas wound up with a split Sunday.

The Razorbacks won the SEC women's title, but the men had to settle for second place to Texas A&M.

SEC track and field

• Team standings from the SEC Track and Field Championships at Lexington, Ky.

MEN

POS. TEAM PTS.

  1. Tex. A&M 155.5

2. Arkansas 116

  1. Florida 93
  2. Georgia 92
  3. Mississippi 78

WOMEN

POS. TEAM PTS.

1. Arkansas 123

  1. Florida 116.5
  2. Texas A&M 113
  3. Kentucky 104
  4. Georgia 70.5

"It was one of those battles through thick and thin, every event," UA women's Coach Lance Harter said. "We knew that it came down to the 5,000 and the mile relay."

Just before the 5,000-meter run, Harter was told that if the Razorbacks finished 1-2-3 they might clinch the team title.

"That's a volatile piece of information," he said. "So I went to the athletes and said 'let me tell you that it's a situation if we can score 24 points, whatever combination we can do, that we've got a shot.'"

Diane Robison led a 1-2-3 sweep, and the eighth-ranked Hogs went on to win with 123 points. Top-ranked Florida wound up second with 116½. Then came defending champion and No. 4 Texas A&M with 113 and No. 6 Kentucky with 104.

Robison set a meet record of 15:48.25. Runner-up Dominique Scott and third-place Grace Heymsfield also got under the 24-year-old record.

"Going into it, just kind of collectively grab my teammates and go forward and try to intimidate the competition," Robison said of her strategy. "Just tuck in (with) whoever I knew had talent and were good 5Kers, and just try to stick with them."

Robison was the only Arkansas woman to win Sunday, but the Hogs had depth.

Arkansas finished fourth and sixth in the women's 400, with Chrishuna Williams (52.44) and Taylor Ellis-Watson (52.56).

Those two later combined with Daina Harper and Regine Williams to take third in the 1,600-meter relay (3:29.58).

Stephanie Brown and Paige Johnston went fifth and seventh in the 1,500 meters, and Tamara Myers placed seventh in the triple jump.

"We've been close so many times -- 8 points here, 7 points there, 10 points here," Harter said. "And then all of a sudden to win it, that's real special."

The Razorbacks men were gunning for a fourth consecutive outdoor title and a third consecutive SEC Triple Crown of cross country, indoor and outdoor titles.

"It always hurts to have a streak broken, but our kids competed hard," men's coach Chris Bucknam said.

Second-ranked Texas A&M totaled 155½ points, while the No. 4 Razorbacks scored 116. No. 1 Florida edged No. 7 Georgia 93-92 for third place.

"We just ran into a buzzsaw. A&M caught fire today," Bucknam said. "We just couldn't seem to get over the hump. I mean, we were doing our thing there for a while, but A&M caught fire in the sprints and we couldn't overcome it."

A&M's Deon Lendore, an Olympic relay silver-medalist from Trinidad, won the 400, and anchored A&M's meet-records in the 400 and 1,600 relays.

Prezel Hardy Jr. and Shavez Hart made 1-2 sweeps of the 100 and 200.

Aggies also swept hurdles titles, with Wayne Davis II in the 110 highs and Gregory Coleman in the 400 intermediates.

Razorbacks freshman Omar McLeod was runner-up to Davis.

Arkansas' only victory came from Stanley Kebenei in the 5,000, timed in 14:11.27. Solomon Haile and Gabe Gonzales came in fifth and sixth.

"Today was just testing myself from yesterday," said Kebenei, who won the steeplechase on Saturday. "I just wanted to test my strength and see where I am right now. Am I ready for regionals? Am I ready for nationals? So it was good. I enjoyed it."

Arkansas had two defending champs finish among the also rans this time.

Andrew Irwin, who had won two consecutive pole vault titles, came in fourth.

Patrick Rono took fifth in the 1,500.

Sports on 05/19/2014

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