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 WEST PRELIMINARIES :
Leaping into a hole
Lawson will miss nationals
Arkansas jumper Jarrion Lawson competes during the NCAA West Preliminaries on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas sophomore Jarrion Lawson, who won the long jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships earlier this year, won't get a shot for a title sweep outdoors.
Lawson failed to advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships when he finished 23rd Thursday night at the NCAA West Preliminaries held at John McDonnell field. He fouled on his first two attempts, then went 23-103/4 on his third and final attempt, taking off well in front of the board.
At a glance
WHEN Through Saturday
WHERE John McDonnell Field, Fayetteville
WHO Approximately 1,700 athletes from 200 teams
WHY To qualify for the NCAA Championships. The top 12 finishers in each event advance to the NCAA meet on June 11-14 in Eugene, Ore.
TICKETS $35 for adult three-day pass. $25 for 17-and-under and student three-day pass. $15 for single-day adults. $10 for single-day 17-and-under and students. All tickets are general admission.
WEBSITE arkansasrazorbacks. com
"On the last one, I didn't want to run as fast because I had scratched the other two," Lawson said. "I'm disappointed, of course, but sometimes you just don't perform the way you want to."
Lawson, who won his NCAA indoor title with a 27-61/2 leap, said he was going for big jumps on his fouls. He went 26-0 two weeks ago to win the SEC title.
"It's very tough. This is a potential six to 10 points lost for us at nationals," Lawson said. "But now I've just to try and take care of business in the relays."
Lawson will run legs on Arkansas' 400 and 1,600-meter relay teams Saturday night.
"I've got some extra incentive now," he said. "I've got to be ready to go."
Arkansas Coach Chris Bucknam said the Razorbacks had been expecting Lawson to score big points at the NCAA Championships, which will be held June 11-14 in Eugene, Ore. The top 12 in each event at the East and West prelims advance to nationals.
"That's a tough one to lose Jarrion," Bucknam said. "We've got to make up some points now. Somebody is going to have to step up and we're going to have to fill that void. Where that comes from, I don't know, but we've still got some ammo left for this meet."
There was some good news for the Razorbacks in the long jump with seniors Raymond Higgs and Anthony May advancing by finishing in the top 12. Higgs had the top mark with a 25-6 leap. May grabbed the last spot, moving up to 12th, by going 24-8 1/2 on his final attempt.
"I hope they can get in the top four at nationals," Lawson said of Higgs and May. "Maybe they can even get first and second."
Arkansas State freshman Roelf Pienaar went 25-2 3/4 to take fourth in the long jump and advance to nationals.
Four Razorbacks advanced in the women's pole vault as seniors Sandi Morris and Danielle Nowell and sophomore Megan Zimlich all cleared 13-7 and sophomore Ariel Voskamp cleared 13-3. Morris tied for first place based on fewer misses.
"They've all been working together very hard for this day," Arkansas field events coach Bryan Compton said. "But even for Sandi being one of the favorites coming in, it's not easy. You've still got to make that bar.
"For all four of them to get in, we're having some fun out there. It's the first time we've had four here at Arkansas going to nationals. We've had three, but never had four."
Arkansas junior Andrew Irwin, a two-time NCAA champion and four-time All-American, cleared 17-7 in the pole vault to advance to the national meet. No vaulter went higher than 17-7, but Irwin finished fifth based on misses.
"Andrew did what he needed to do," said Razorbacks assistant Doug Case, who coaches the vaulters. "Obviously, this is a do what you need to do type meet.
"We had a couple of rain delays, we were fighting the wind at times, but he did well."
Irwin, who went 17-11 3/4 to take fourth at the SEC meet two weeks ago, has been battling injuries much of the year. He underwent hernia surgery last fall.
"He's been on and off training-wise," Case said. "To tell you the truth, I feel like he's just now getting back in shape. Right before SEC meet I thought he looked better and actually started to look like himself again. To me, the season started at the SEC meet. That might sound a little bizarre, but that's how I feel."
Irwin has a personal-best of 18-9 1/4, which won at the 2012 SEC Championships.
"He looks better to me every time we work out," Case said. "He's going to do well at nationals. He's a big-game guy."
Arkansas senior Stephanie Brown had the fastest time in the first round of the 1,500, running 4:20.73 to advance to Saturday night's quarterfinals. Razorbacks senior Keri McClary also advance, running 4:23.72.
Razorbacks junior Tamara Myers long jumped 20-8 1/2 to take third and advance to nationals.
Arkansas junior Patrick Rono won his 800 heat in 1:49.44 to advance to Saturday night's quarterfinals along with Razorbacks sophomore Andrew Psechko (1:49.92) and junior Tomas Squella (1:49.94).
Rono was running when Lawson was eliminated in the long jump.
"It is a shock, especially because we're at home and we train here all the time, but anything can happen," Rono said. "You're always going to face some difficulties. We'll have to regain some points for some things that didn't go our way."
Sports on 05/30/2014