UA women in position after Day 1 of NCAAs

By: Bob Holt
Published: Saturday, March 9, 2019
Arkansas athlete Kelsey Herman competes in the women's high jump event of the pentathlon during the NCAA Division 1 indoor athletics championship, Friday, March 8, 2019, at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Arkansas athlete Kelsey Herman competes in the women's high jump event of the pentathlon during the NCAA Division 1 indoor athletics championship, Friday, March 8, 2019, at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

University of Arkansas sprinter Payton Chadwick didn’t let a gash in her right knee slow her down Friday night at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Ala.

Chadwick, a senior from Springdale Har-Ber and the defending champion in the 60-meter hurdles, ran the fastest qualifying time in 7.93 seconds to advance, but in the process she suffered a cut that required medical attention.

“Payton clipped the edge of the hurdle and put a gash in her kneecap,” Razorbacks women’s Coach Lance Harter said. “It was kind of a deep cut, so they glued it shut — that’s the new technique now — and she was fine. She came back in the 200 and did well.”

Chadwick also advanced in the 200, running the third-fastest time in 23.01.

“Payton really had a fantastic day,” Harter said. “She’s in good spirits.”

Arkansas’ women’s and men’s teams both got on the scoreboard in the distance medley relay.

The Razorbacks’ No. 1-ranked women’s team got a fifth-pace finish in the distance medley relay from senior Devin Clark, sophomore Morgan Burks-Magee and juniors Alex Byrnes and Taylor Werner, running 10:56.85.

“Taylor ran a 4:30 flat last mile,” Harter said. “She just did a fantastic job. All four of them ran very, very well.”

Arkansas’ men took sixth while running 9:33.97 with their distance medley relay team of junior Gilbert Boit, sophomores Hunter Woodhall and Kieran Taylor, and senior Cameron Griffith, who ran a 3:57 mile on the anchor.

“We went in ranked 11th coming into the meet and got sixth, so I feel good about that,” Razorbacks men’s Coach Chris Bucknam said. “They’re All-Americans and put some points on the board for the Hogs.”

Chadwick led a large contingent for the Razorbacks’ women’s team who advanced to finals today from Friday’s preliminaries.

Arkansas redshirt freshman Lauren Gregory and junior Carina Viljoen both advanced in the mile. Gregory ran 4:37.73 and Viljoen 4:37.95.

Also advancing for the Razorbacks were sophomore Janeek Brown in the 60 hurdles (7.98) and senior Kiara Parker in the 60 (7.27).

“We had everybody advance that we thought would,” Harter said. “So we’ve got a lot of scoring opportunities.”

Along with the Razorbacks’ sprinters and distance runners, they’re expected to score big points today in the pole vault with seniors Lexi Jacobus and Tori Hoggard — twin sisters from Cabot — ranking 1-2 this indoor season. Jacobus won last year’s NCAA indoor title with Hoggard taking second.

Arkansas is tied for 19th in the women’s team race through five of 17 finals with four points, but the Razorbacks are still in a strong position to win the title.

“Right now, I think we’re on schedule,” Harter said. “But I think it’s going to be really close between us and USC.”

Werner will run the 3,000 today, as will Gregory after the mile.

“Taylor ran so well [Friday] that I think she’s going to have a great 3,000,” Harter said. “She’s ready to rock and roll.”

Kelsey Herman, an Arkansas senior from Crossett, was ranked third in the pentathlon coming into the meet after winning the SEC title, but she finished 14th in Friday’s events with 4,035 points.

“Kelsey just had a rough day,” Harter said. “I think it was more mental than physical. After the shotput, she just kind of checked out and went through the motions.

“It was disappointing, I think, for everybody. That’s not Kelsey.”

Arkansas senior Gabe Moore leads the heptathlon through four of seven events with 3,423 points. Nebraska senior Jared Seay is 43 points back in second with 3,380.

Moore ran 6.82 in the 60, long-jumped 23-8, threw the shotput 48-9 and high-jumped 6-8.

“Gabe had a great first day,” Bucknam said. “Hopefully, he can put it all together [today]. He’s in the mix for an individual championship. He’s got some guys breathing down his neck. It’s going to be a tight battle.”

Arkansas senior Derek Jacobus is 11th with 3,163 points.

The Razorbacks, who don’t have enough entrants to compete for the team title, are tied for 24th with three points.

New Mexico’s women’s team is in first place with 17 points. LSU leads the men’s scoring with 20 points.

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