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.
May takes care of all UA jumps
Arkansas senior Anthony May attempts to clear the bar in the high jump during a dual meet against Texas on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Whenever there is jumping at the NCAA West Preliminaries at Arkansas' John McDonnell Field, Anthony May will be doing it for the Razorbacks.
May, a redshirt senior from Hoover, Ala., will compete in the long jump tonight, the high jump Friday night and the triple jump Saturday night.
"It's rare that you see it, but I'm glad I'm able to do it," May said of tripling at an NCAA meet. "Hopefully, I can score points in all of those events for the team at nationals."
NCAA West Prelims
at John McDonnell Field, Fayetteville
NOON Women’s javelin 1 P.M. Men’s pole vault 2 P.M. Women’s long jump 2 P.M. Men’s shot put 5:30 P.M. Men’s javelin 6:30 P.M. Women’s pole vault 6:30 P.M. Men’s long jump 6:30 P.M. Women’s shot put
4:30 P.M. Men’s 400-meter hurdles 5 P.M. Women’s 400-meter hurdles 5:30 P.M. Men’s 1,500 meters 6 P.M. Women’s 1,500 meters 6:30 P.M. Men’s 100 meters 6:55 P.M. Women’s 100 meters 7:20 P.M. Men’s 400 meters 7:45 P.M. Women’s 400 meters 8 P.M. Men’s 800 meters 8:30 P.M. Women’s 800 meters 9 P.M. Men’s 10,000 meters 9:40 P.M. Women’s 10,000 meters
Arkansas assistant Travis Geopfert, who coaches the field events, said May wanted to do all the jumps.
"To have a guy who can do all three events well, that's invaluable," Geopfert said. "He's a hammer for us. I'd take 10 of him. He's so, so coachable. It's just refreshing.
"We've got a great group of guys, but he's always on time, always on point and has it all together off the track as well."
May's season-best marks rank second in the West Prelims in the triple jump (53-03/4), third in the high jump (7-33/4) and seventh in the long jump (25-81/4).
The top 12 in each event at the West Prelims advance to the NCAA Championships June 11-14 in Eugene, Ore.
"I think Anthony is probably one of the most underrated guys that we've had on our team in the last few years," Arkansas Coach Chris Bucknam said. "He's an incredibly versatile jumper. He's unbelievably coachable.
"He does exactly what Coach Geopfert wants him to do, when he wants him to do it. He's never adding stuff, subtracting, and so that discipline right there that he has with his coach gives us the confidence that he can do all this. He just does everything right."
May said it's nice to hear so much praise from his coaches.
"It means a lot to me to know they said those things," he said. "That makes me feel good, really good, about myself. It makes me feel like I'm doing things right."
May, who transferred to Arkansas from South Plains (Texas) Junior College, has been a consistent scorer at the SEC and NCAA meets the past two years.
"He's been a quiet weapon for us, putting up a lot of points," Geopfert said.
May was fifth in the triple jump (52-7 1/4) at this year's NCAA indoor meet after last year taking fourth in the high jump outdoors (7-4 1/4) and eighth indoors (7-3 3/4).
At this year's SEC outdoor meet, he took took third in the long jump and fourth in high and triple jumps after winning the high jump and taking second in the triple jump at the indoor meet.
So what's his best event?
"I'd say the triple jump at this point, but I hate to say that because he's so good at all three," Geopfert said. "He's scored the highest at the national meet in the high jump, but his speed has really come along for the long and triple jumps. I think he can long jump 26 feet and triple jump 54."
May said he used to think of himself as a high jumper who did some of the other events, but now he believes he might have more potential to score better in the triple and long jumps.
"I thought I would specialize more in the high jump when I got to college, but my coaches always wanted to experience with the triple and long jumps, too," he said. "It's working out for me."
As challenging as jumping in three events figures to be for May the next three days, it should be easier than the SEC meet two weeks ago, where he was competing in the triple and high jumps at the same time.
"He literally was running back and forth between the two events," Geopfert said. "It was really tough."
May can focus on one event each day at the West Prelims.
"I've been pretty happy with what I've done, but I know there's more that I can give," May said. "So hopefully that comes out of me at this meet and nationals.
"I'm getting used to doing all three. I'm feeling pretty confident."
Geopfert said a key for May having success at the West Prelims is to minimize his workload by hitting some marks early in the competition they know will be good enough to advance to nationals so he's not worn out by the end of the meet.
"Anthony's extremely fit right now," Geopfert said. "He gets the right amount of sleep, he eats properly, and in his training he does everything we say all the time.
"He's made a name for himself, but he's very humble. He's just focusing on the process. At the end of the day, he wants to do whatever he can for the team."
Sports on 05/29/2014