A&M holds off Arkansas men

By: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Published: Sunday, May 14, 2017
Arkansas coach Chris Bucknam watches Saturday, April 22, 2017, during the John McDonnell Invitational at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas coach Chris Bucknam watches Saturday, April 22, 2017, during the John McDonnell Invitational at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.

The men's team race at the SEC Outdoor Championships went down to the final event as Texas A&M held off the Arkansas Razorbacks to win the title in Columbia, S.C.

Texas A&M won the 1,600-meter relay in 3:00.72 to clinch the championship with 119 points.

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, which took sixth in the 1,600 relay at 3:03.83, finished second with 106 points. Alabama was third with 103 points.

"When the meet is this close, you can always look back and agonize over a few points you missed out on and wonder what could have been," Razorbacks Coach Chris Bucknam said. "But for the most part, there are no regrets.

"The kids did a great job of battling all three days. We just came up a few points short of another title."

Texas A&M ended Arkansas' streak of five consecutive conference championships in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and denied the Razorbacks what would have been their 16th SEC triple crown -- a sweep of all three titles in the same school year.

"We beat a lot of good teams this weekend," Bucknam said. "We didn't lose. We just got second.

"A&M had a great meet, but they had to go to the well to beat us. We've had a great couple of years, and this time we just came up a little bit short."

Arkansas junior Kemar Mowatt, a transfer from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, won the 400-meter hurdles Saturday in an NCAA-leading time of 48.72 seconds to break Sam Glover's UA record of 49.08 set in 2000.

"It was Kemar's third race of the day and he hit the 10th hurdle pretty hard, but he still kept his composure and finished strong," Bucknam said. "He had to run a national-best time to win, so that shows you how tough our league is."

Before winning the 400 hurdles, Mowatt ran a personal-best 13.90 to take seventh in the 110 hurdles and was on Arkansas' second-place 400 relay.

"He had an unbelievable performance," Bucknam said. "He's just a great competitor and great kid.

"Nothing ever changes with him. He just comes to work every day and does his job, and does it at a high level."

Arkansas senior Clive Pullen, the defending SEC outdoor champion in the triple jump, competed Saturday despite a sore hamstring and finished fourth at 52-4 with Razorbacks junior Rubin Owens third at 52-4 3/4.

"Quite honestly going to the track this morning we thought maybe there was a 10 or 20 percent chance Clive would compete," Bucknam said. "But he said, 'Coach, I'm going to get some jumps in. I'm not going to sit this one out.'

"I wouldn't say he was jogging down the runway, but he wasn't at a full sprint. He had to shorten his approach, but he was able to get out there and score for us."

The Razorbacks got 16 points in the 5,000 with sophomore Alex George taking second (13:53.83), junior Jack Bruce third (13:53.93) and sophomore Austen Dalquist seventh (13:58.09).

Arkansas WAS without two potential scorers -- high jumper Ken LeGassey (hamstring) and distance runner Andrew Ronoh (foot) -- because of injuries. Bucknam said junior hurdler Davon Anderson, another potential scorer, recently was dismissed from the team.

"Other teams have issues, too," Bucknam said. "It seemed like we had a bunch of them here recently, and yet our kids stepped up and almost pulled it off."

Sports on 05/14/2017

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