Arkansas' Kibet wins steeplechase

By: Bob Holt Bob Holt's Twitter account
Published: Saturday, May 14, 2022
FILE — Arkansas' Andrew Kibet competes in the steeplechase on Friday, May 14, 2021, during the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Robert Black, via Arkansas Athletics)
FILE — Arkansas' Andrew Kibet competes in the steeplechase on Friday, May 14, 2021, during the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Robert Black, via Arkansas Athletics)

Arkansas junior Andrew Kibet was focused on winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase Friday night at the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Oxford, Miss., rather than running a personal-best time of 8:42.87.

“Just the title,” Kibet said in an interview posted on the Arkansas track and field Twitter account when asked about his time. “[Being] the SEC champ."

Kibet, who finished second in the steeplechase at last year’s SEC Championships, won Friday night by more than five seconds over Alabama freshman Hillary Cheruiyot, who took second in 8:48.67. 

“This race has made me realize you just have to believe in yourself,” Kibet said. “Just believe in yourself. That’s it. That’s all it takes.” 

The Razorbacks scored 16 points in the steeplechase with seniors Carter Persyn taking fifth (personal-best 8:54.94) and Emmanuel Cheboson seventh (8:59.81).

“Our plan was to give it our all,” Kibet said. “And I’m so happy for my teammates, for all of us to score.”

Arkansas won 15 SEC steeplechase races since 1995 — when Godfrey Siamusiye won his first of two — and five in the last eight years with Kyle Hosting in 2018 being the most recent Razorback champion prior to Kibet. 

The Razorbacks also scored well in the decathlon, which wasn’t finished until 1 a.m. Saturday after the meet schedule was delayed by six hours because of lightning.

Arkansas juniors Daniel Spejcher and Noah Swaby finished second and fourth to combine for 13 points in the team race. Spejcher scored 7,695 points and Swaby 7,302.

Spejcher had a personal best 188 feet, 11 inches for the top javelin mark. He also ran the 110-meter hurdles in 14.77, cleared 15-3 in the pole vault, threw the discus 134-8 and ran the 1,500 in 4:44.57.

Swaby had the top mark in the discus (155-5), the No. 2 mark in the javelin (183-11), ran the hurdles in 15.20, cleared 13-7 1/4 in the pole vault and ran the 1,500 in 4:45.51.

Georgia senior Johannes Erm won the decathlon with 8,132 points. 

Through seven finals scored Arkansas is in third place in the team standings with 45 points behind Tennessee (55) and Alabama (54).

Four Razorbacks advanced to the final in the 110-meter hurdles, led by sophomore Phillip Lemonious (13.65) along with juniors Tre’Bien Gilbert (13.70), Ayden Owens-Deleme (13.80) and Matthew Lewis-Banks (13.82).

Advancing to the 1,500 final for Arkansas were senior Amon Kemboi (3:45.29) and freshman Elias Schreml (3:45.42).

The Razorbacks didn’t score in the long jump as sophomore Ryan Brown took ninth (24-6 1/2) and freshman Johnathan Baker 14th (24-1 1/2).

In women’s competition Friday night, Arkansas seniors Logan Jolly and Krissy Gear came through with 11 points in the steeplechase.

Jolly took third in 9:51.11 and Gear — who earlier Friday advanced to the 1,500 final — was fourth in 10:03.34 despite taking a fall while going over a water jump.

Arkansas is seventh in the team race through eight finals scored with 22 points. Auburn leads with 36 points with Florida second (32) and Texas A&M third (28).

Auburn senior Joyce Kimeli won the steeplechase in 9:49.15.

Razorbacks freshman Sydney Billington cleared 5-6 3/4 to take eighth in the high jump. 

Arkansas sophomore Britton Wilson ran 51.20 to lead all qualifiers into the 400 final after she had the top time in the 400-meter hurdles Thursday night and broke her own UA record by running 54.23.

Also advancing to the 400 final for the Razorbacks were freshman Rosey Effoing (51.75) and senior Morgan Burks-Magee (52.22).

Senior Jada Baylark ran 11.56 to advance to the 100 final after she advanced in the 200 on Thursday night. 

Arkansas junior Yoveinny Mota ran 13.09 in the 100-meter hurdles to advance to the final.

Gear ran 4:16.96 to advance to the 1,500 final along with Arkansas senior Lauren Gregory (4:16.91).


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