Igbokwe says best 400 time is part of process

By: Bob Holt
Published: Saturday, February 10, 2018
Arkansas' Obi Igbokwe runs during the Tyson Invitational on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas' Obi Igbokwe runs during the Tyson Invitational on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas Razorbacks junior Obi Igbokwe didn't hold anything back in the 400 meters Friday night at the Tyson Invitational.

Igbokwe ran the first 200 in 21.3 seconds -- a mark that would have ranked in the top 50 nationally in the 200 alone -- and finished in a personal-best 45.38.

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville assistant Doug Case, who coaches the sprinters, said Igbokwe didn't go out too fast.

"We planned that," Case said. "Sometimes you've just got to go do it and see where you are."

Igbokwe's time ranks third nationally.

Shortly before the 400 went off on the Randal Tyson Center track, Southern California sophomore Michael Norman took the national lead by running 45.0 at a meet in Clemson, S.C. Auburn sophomore Akeem Bloomfield ran 45.02 to take second at the Clemson meet and edge Igbokwe for the No. 2 spot behind Norman.

Igbokwe had been the national leader after running a personal-best 45.72 two weeks ago at the Razorback Invitational.

While Igbokwe was the top collegian in the 400 at the Tyson Invitational, he was edged at the finish line by former Razorback Marqueze Washington, who won in 45.23.

Igbokwe said he wasn't upset about Washington's victory.

"That's my teammate. That's my friend," Igbokwe said. "I love to see my friends win. I feel great about my race. It was good competition."

Igbokwe said he plans to keep lowering his personal best and that he felt good about his fast 200.

"I ran really smooth," he said. "It didn't feel like 21.3. It felt like 22. I just held on, and I died a little bit at the end. This next time I'm going out faster and I'm holding on better and I'm running 44.

"I don't mean to sound cocky, but I'm working my a** off for it."

Case said Igbokwe ran well but has a higher ceiling.

"I don't think he nailed that race," Case said. "That wasn't the perfect race. I think he's got upside to that. That was a little bit of a test run for us, to see where we were, and it was good."

In other events for Arkansas' No. 6-ranked men's team, senior Kenzo Cotton took second in the 60 in 6.59 seconds; senior Larry Donald took fourth in the 60 hurdles in 7.84; senior Travonn White took third in the long jump at 25-4½; junior Erich Sullins took second in the weight throw at 66-5¼; and freshman Kieran Taylor won the 800 in 1:52.16.

Arkansas' No. 1-ranked women's team got a first-place finish in the long jump from senior Taliyah Brooks, who moved up to No. 2 nationally with a personal-best leap of 21-6¾. Brooks is the national leader in the heptathlon.

Friday night was Brooks' first long jump competition of the indoor season.

"We feel she can do better than that and that she will," Arkansas assistant coach Chris Johnson said. "She has been doing a lot on her speed work, which is why you haven't seen her hurdle that much. But she'll be back in the hurdles at the conference meet."

Razorbacks senior Payton Stumbaugh Chadwick, from Springdale Har-Ber, took third in the 60 hurdles in 8.10, just off her school record of 8.09 last year.

"Payton didn't get off the block, but she recovered really well," Johnson said. "We've got a few technical things we've got to clean up, but all in all we're very proud of her. We're headed in the right direction."

Arkansas sophomore Jada Baylark, from Little Rock Parkview, ran a personal-best 7.22 in the 60 to take third place.

The Tyson Invitational will continue today with events starting at 1 p.m. A highlight event for the Arkansas women will be the pole vault at 3 p.m. with Lexi Jacobus, Tori Hoggard and Desiree Freier.


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Sports on 02/10/2018


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