Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year twice.
Hogs team up for 22 points in 10,000 on Day 1 of SEC Championships
Arkansas' Gilbert Boit (right) leads the field Thursday, May 9, 2019, in the 10,000 meters during the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas distance runners were on their home track at John McDonnell Field Thursday night, but for Razorbacks Coach Chris Bucknam it looked more like his guys were on a grass course.
"They ran a great team race," Bucknam said after the Razorbacks took four of the top six places in the 10,000 meters at the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships for 22 points. "It looked like a cross country run for us. It was a great finish."
Alabama senior Gilbert Kigen won the 10,000 in 29:27.27, but the Razorbacks took the next three places with junior Gilbert Boit second (29:31.17), sophomore Matt Young third (29:32.50) and senior Austen Dalquist fourth (29:51.72). Arkansas also got a sixth-place finish from junior Preston Cates (29:57.09).
"We knew it was a big event for us," Bucknam said. "We had the expectation we had to score those points, so that was some pressure on those kids. But they performed great."
Boit took the lead with four laps to go.
"I was trying to grind out the last mile," Boit said. "I was on a mission to win it, but it doesn't always happen the way you want."
Kigen passed Boit on the final lap.
"It was a surprise to me," Boit said. "I didn't see him coming."
For Kigen it was payback after Boit passed him in the final meters to win the 5,000 at the SEC indoor meet earlier this year -- 14:09.84 to 14:09.87.
"What Gilbert did to Kigen indoors, Kigen did to him outdoors," Bucknam said. "But Gilbert's a great competitor, so there's no complaints on our end of it by any means."
Arkansas senior Gabe Moore trails Georgia freshman Karel Tilga by 42 points after the first day of the decathlon. Tilga leads the event with 4,087 points followed by Moore in second with 4,045.
"That's nothing," Moore said of the deficit he has to erase after Thursday's five events. "I can make that up in the hurdles."
The 110-meter hurdles will be the first decathlon event at 1:45 p.m. today.
"I want to attack the hurdles and hopefully take the lead," Moore said. "That's my favorite event.
"I've got a good chance to make up some points in the discus as well. Then I just need to keep it rolling in the pole vault, javelin and 1,500."
Arkansas freshman Daniel Spejcher is in seventh place in the decathlon with 3,200 points.
Advancing in preliminary races for the Razorbacks were sophomore Kieran Taylor in the 800 (1:49.89) and junior Travean Caldwell in the 400 hurdles (51.02).
In women's competition for Arkansas' No. 1-ranked team, sophomore Janeek Brown and senior Payton Chadwick each advanced in the 200. Brown ran 22.96 and Chadwick ran 23.11.
Moore opened the decathlon by running the 100 in 10.71 seconds. He long jumped 23 feet, 6 inches, had a 45-2 1/2 mark in the shot put, high jumped 6-3 1/4 and ran 50.1 in the 400.
None of Moore's marks were personal bests, but that was impacted by the weather -- rain and temperatures that dipped to 53 degrees.
"Based on the conditions, I was pleased," Arkansas assistant coach Mario Sategna said. "It was unfortunate not just for Gabe, but for all the guys, that they had to compete in the inclement weather.
"These guys don't get very many opportunities [to compete in a decathlon], and when it's raining and temperatures are in the 50s, it makes it kind of tough."
Moore said the weather affected the shot put more than the other events.
"The shot put was pretty difficult," he said. "The ring was wet from the rain. You don't throw in wet rings too often, but I actually had a decent throw there."
Moore said he went out too fast in the 400, where Sategna had him timed in 22.3 in the first 200.
"I was a little overzealous," Moore said. "It is what it is. I can't go back and change anything now."
Moore is attempting to become the second Razorback to win an SEC decathlon title. Kevin Lazas won for Arkansas in 2012.
"I like my chances," Moore said. "I think it's going to be a real good. finish."
Sports on 05/10/2019
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