ARKANSAS TRACK AND FIELD:

Teams spread out for better weather

By: Bob Holt
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018
Arkansas' Lexi Jacobus competes in the pole vault invitational Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, during the Tyson Invitational in the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas' Lexi Jacobus competes in the pole vault invitational Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, during the Tyson Invitational in the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The Arkansas Razorbacks men's and women's track and field teams are hoping for warmer temperatures and less windy conditions as they spread out across the country this weekend.

The No. 1-ranked University of Arkansas, Fayetteville women's team will be at four different meets.

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The distance runners will compete at the Mount San Antonio College Relays in Torrance, Calif., and at the Cardinal Invitational at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. The team's sprinters and jumpers will compete at LSU, and the pole vaulters will go to the Kansas Relays in Lawrence, Kan.

Heavy winds -- along with the threat of lightning -- and cold weather at last weekend's John McDonnell Invitational meant the Razorbacks' sprint times were wind-aided, and made for tough conditions for the distance runners and field event athletes.

"Mother Nature really turned on us," Arkansas women's Coach Lance Harter said. "It became somewhat of a survival test.

"We had really fast marks on Friday, but unfortunately the winds were illegal. Then on Saturday it was so bitterly cold that you weren't going to get much out of it."

Arkansas senior Taliyah Brooks, the national leader in the heptathlon and long jump, will long jump and run in the 100 meters at LSU. Jada Baylark, a sophomore from Little Rock, will lead the sprinters along with Kiara Parker, Janeek Brown and Morgan Burks-Magee.

Taylor Werner will look to qualify for nationals in the 10,000 at Mount San Antonio College. At the Cardinal Invitational, Devin Clark will go in the 3,000 steeplechase.

Lexi Jacobus and Tori Hoggard -- twin sisters from Cabot who finished 1-2 in the pole vault at the NCAA Indoor meet -- won't compete at Kansas so they can focus on training, but the Razorbacks have Morgan Hartsell and Elizabeth Ramos Mata vaulting.

"Supposedly the weather is going to be good at all four sites, and we'll keep our fingers crossed that we can walk away with a lot of good SEC marks as well as national-caliber marks," Harter said. "Our kids are ready. They just need the opportunity.

Arkansas' No. 11 men's team will have its distance runners at the Mount San Antonio College Relays and Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, Calif., with its sprinters and field event athletes in Waco, Texas, at the Michael Johnson Invitational hosted by Baylor.

Senior Kenzo Cotton, a 16-time All-American, will lead the sprinters; Laquan Nairn will go in the long and triple jumps; and Cameron Griffith (5,000) and Jack Bruce (1,500) are among the distance runners at the Azusa.

Arkansas men's Coach Chris Bucknam said he doesn't want the Razorbacks dwelling on last week's challenging weather.

"It was difficult to run under those conditions, but it is what it is," Bucknam said. "As I told the team last week, we're so focused on times and marks it's unbearable some times.

"It deflects away from what's really important and that's for our kids to compete and to get competitive But because of the way the system is set up, kids gravitate to that."

Sports on 04/19/2018

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