UA's Boit edges rival in 5,000 run

By: Scottie Bordelon
Published: Sunday, May 12, 2019
Arkansas' Gilbert Boit (center) celebrates Saturday, May 11, 2019, after passing Gilbert Kigen (right) of Alabama to win the 5,000 meters during the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas' Gilbert Boit (center) celebrates Saturday, May 11, 2019, after passing Gilbert Kigen (right) of Alabama to win the 5,000 meters during the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- University of Arkansas junior Gilbert Boit and Alabama's Gilbert Kigen have battled back and forth in distance events at SEC meets in Fayetteville since February.

Boit got the best of Kigen on Saturday at the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships at John McDonnell Field, helping Arkansas earn a third-place finish with 91 points. LSU won with 105 points, with Florida in second with 95.

Inside the final 50 meters of the 5,000-meter run, Boit slipped through a tight crease between Kigen and Boit's UA teammate Cameron Griffith to claim the SEC title with a time of 13:54.46. Kigen finished second and Griffith placed third.

Razorbacks sophomore Matt Young (13:57.97) recorded a personal-best time to finish fourth.

The Kenyans' 2019 rivalry dates back to the SEC Indoor Championships at the Randal Tyson Center when Boit edged Kigen by 0.03 seconds to win the 5,000. Thursday night, Kigen passed Boit on the final lap in the 10,000.

"I think he knew Cameron was there and he could probably give him a nudge," Arkansas men's Coach Chris Bucknam said of the dramatic finish. "I don't think Cameron heard him coming. But it was a great move, and we told him, 'Hey, you've got to be a little more patient,' like he was indoors. He got a little impatient in the 10K, corrected that and got the win."

Boit, who scored 18 points for Arkansas in his two events, is the first Razorback to win the 5,000 outdoors since Kemoy Campbell in 2015.

Griffith, a senior from Sydney, Australia, finished runner-up in the 1,500 (3:48.81), pushing Arkansas into third place overall with 50 points through 12 events. Ole Miss' Waleed Suliman (3:47.64) pulled away from the pack down the stretch, fending off a late push from Griffith in the final two turns.

"He's a contender for the national title in the 1,500, and when he comes back next year indoors. He's that good," Bucknam said of Griffith. "He's dialed in on it, so it's going to be fun watching him compete."

The Razorbacks' 1,600 relay team -- John Winn, Hunter Woodhall, Jalen Brown and Rhayko Schwartz -- came in third with a run of 3:03.53 behind Texas A&M and LSU, respectively.

The 400 relay team of Josh Oglesby, Rashad Boyd, Kris Hari and Roy Ejiakuekwu placed third behind LSU (38.85) and Florida (39.12), earning six points with a time of 39.26 seconds. Tigers anchor leg Jaron Flournoy, in celebrating as he crossed the finish line, tripped and fell, causing Razorbacks sprinter Ejiakuekwu to hit the track.

Woodhall, a sprinter from Syracuse, Utah, finished fourth in the 400 with a personal-best time of 46.22. His previous best (46.46) was set at last month's John McDonnell Invitational.

Redshirt junior Shakiel Chattoo took sixth place in the event with a personal-best time of 13.71 -- also tied for the eighth-best time in program history.

Kieran Taylor, a redshirt sophomore from Little Rock Catholic, came in fourth in the 800 with a time of 1:48.34, passing a pair of fellow runners over the final 100 meters to secure five points. Texas A&M junior Devin Dixon (1:44.76) won going away, setting a facility and meet record in the process.

Saturday turned out to be quite the day for the Duplantis family of LSU. Antoine Duplantis, an outfielder on the Tigers baseball team, hit a decisive three-run home run in the eighth inning of the Tigers' 3-2 comeback against Arkansas at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Duplantis' younger brother, Mondo, a freshman pole vaulter at LSU, won the SEC title by clearing a collegiate record of 19-8 1/4 on his third and final attempt.

Bucknam was pleased with the Razorbacks' weekend performance. None of the adversity Arkansas faced was due to a lack of effort, he said.

"Gabe [Moore] doesn't get hurt, and we're second and knocking on the door with LSU," said Bucknam, referencing Moore's injury in Friday's decathlon when he was leading the event. "Our guys put it all on the track for three days, and I'm just really proud of them. I told the team I can't start naming names because we had so many breakthroughs.

"We're young, and we have just had so many breakthroughs."

Sports on 05/12/2019

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