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 make moves at West Prelims
Arkansas runners Janeek Brown (left), Kiara Parker (center) and Kethlin Campbell celebrate after winning the 400-meter relay during the National Relay Championships on Saturday, April 27, 2019, in Fayetteville.
The University of Arkansas advanced six athletes to the Outdoor Track and Field Championships on the second day of the West Prelims at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, Calif.
Along with two athletes who qualified Thursday, the Razorbacks have a total of eight athletes so far who have advanced. Arkansas has an entry in every event tonight.
Razorbacks pole vaulters Tori Hoggard, Lexi Jacobus and Desiree Freier all clinched spots in the championships after each cleared the bar with leaps of 14-2.
Kethlin Campbell will compete for an NCAA title after she clocked a time of 51.85, winning her heat in the 400 meters.
Kiara Parker advanced in the 100 meters with a time of 11:34.
Devin Clark will return to the NCAA Championships in the steeplechase, earning her spot with a lifetime-best performance that stands as the No. 2 mark in program history. Clark finished with a time of 9:48.35 that was almost a full second better than her personal record.
University of Arkansas junior All-American distance runners Taylor Werner and Gilbert Boit easily advanced in the 10,000 meters late Thursday night.
Werner, who figures to be a key for Arkansas’ No. 1-ranked team’s national title hopes in Austin, Texas, ran 33:40.81 to finish fourth.
The top-12 individual finishers in each event advance to the NCAA meet.
“Taylor just kind of cruised along,” Razorbacks women’s Coach Lance Harter said. “The philosophy is to get one of those top 12 tickets that all go to the same place. They don’t discriminate if you’re 12th or you’re fourth or first.”
Harter said Werner took the lead for the first 2 miles because the pace was so slow.
“She just forced everybody to run her race,” Harter said. “Then because she’s coming to run in the 5,000 [Saturday night], we just wanted to make sure that we made it as effortless as we possibly could.”
Boit ran 29:00.70 to take seventh.
“Gilbert looked really good, ran very easy,” Arkansas men’s Coach Chris Bucknam said. “He’s definitely a title contender at nationals.”
Fifth-year senior Erich Sullins finished fifth in the hammer with a throw of 219 feet, 7 inches to become the first Razorback ever to advance to the NCAA meet in that event.
“It’s good to break the ceiling on an event like that for us,” Bucknam said. “But what I’m thrilled about is here’s a kid that’s put in over five years of work.
“Erich came here as a walk-on, and now he’s going to the NCAA Championships. It’s just a feel-good story for us.”
Arkansas sophomore G’Auna Edwards went 20-13/4 on her first long jump attempt and finished 10th to advance to the NCAA meet.
“It was not a real good night to long jump, because it rained off and on and there were winds that kept circulating,” Harter said. “So sometimes they’d have a tailwind, sometimes they’d have a headwind. But she made the best of it to make sure she’s in position to advance.”
Arkansas State senior sprinter Caitland Smith qualified in the 100-meter dash Friday and also set the school record in the 200-meter dash.
Smith finished fifth in the 100 meters in 11.22, a personal-best and the second-fastest time in program history.
She was fourth in the 200 meters in 22.95.
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