Bob Holt is a sports reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he sits on the board of directors for the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year four times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame.
UA men's track jumps to Day 1 lead
Arkansas' Wayne Pinnock competes at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in Austin, Texas.
The Arkansas men’s track and field team flew to the lead at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships as Carey McLeod and Wayne Pinnock finished first and second in the long jump on Wednesday night at Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas.
McLeod, a senior transfer from Tennessee, won by going 27 feet, 1 3/4 inches on his first attempt. He also set a stadium record, breaking the mark of 27-1 1/2 by Texas’ Steffin McCarter in 2021.
Pinnock, a sophomore who won last year’s NCAA long jump outdoors when he also was at Tennessee, took second with a 26-9 mark on his second attempt. He edged Kentucky freshman Jordan Tucker, who was third at 26-8 3/4.
McLeod swept this year’s NCAA long jump titles. He won the indoor title with a 27-6 1/2 leap while Pinnock took fourth to help the Razorbacks win the national team championship in Albuquerque, N.M.
McLeod and Pinnock led No. 1-ranked Arkansas to the team lead Wednesday night through six of 21 events scored with 21 points.
Stanford, which got a 1-2 finish from Ky Robinson and Charles Hicks in the 10,000 meters, is second with 18 points.
“The long jump was phenomenal, going 1-2 with 18 points, really, really proud of those guys,” Arkansas coach Chris Bucknam said. “Carey McLeod putting it all together again, just like he did indoors to win his second national title for us.
“Carey broke the facility record here, and there have been a lot of good track meets at Texas. To break the facility record, that’s pretty impressive.”
It’s the first 1-2 long finish for Arkansas in the long jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The previous best duo was in 1984 when Mike Conley won and Mike Davis was third.
McLeod is the sixth Razorback to win an NCAA Outdoor long jump title and Arkansas has a total of 10.
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Conley won Arkansas’ first two NCAA long jump titles outdoors in 1984-85, followed by Erick Walder (1992-94), Robert Howard (1997-98), Melvin Lister (1999) and Jarrion Lawson (2016).
“We added to the legacy of jumpers that have been here at Arkansas with what Carey and Wayne did,” Bucknam said.
Arkansas senior Jordan West, also a transfer from Tennessee, took seventh in the shot put with a throw of 65-8 1/2. Senior Roje Stona finished 14th at 63-10 1/2.
Patrick Kiprop, a sophomore for the Razorbacks, took eighth in the 10,000 in 28.27.54.
West and Kiprop combined for three points.
“That very well could be the difference in who wins the meet, so those were hard-fought points,” Bucknam said. “Jordan was in 12th place before his final throw in the prelims and moved to sixth to make the final. He did a great job and he’s a first-team All-American.
“Same with Patrick. That was big for him to score. It was brutally hot [80 degrees when the 10,000 started] and humid out there. The reigning NCAA champion [Tennessee’s Dylan Jacobs] finished 14th tonight, and he just won the SEC title.
“It gives you an idea of how tough that race was and what a great job Patrick did to get in there and score for us. Eighth place maybe doesn’t sound sexy, but last year he was 14th at this meet.
“Patrick was sixth in the 5,000 [at the NCAA Indoors] so he scored points in both of his biggest races this year.”
In a shocking development for Arkansas, senior Ayden Owens-Delerme failed to advance to the final of the 400-meter hurdles after having the nation’s top time (48.26 seconds) coming into the meet.
Owens-Delerme, the defending NCAA champion in the decathlon who experienced some knee tendonitis earlier this year, has focused on the 400 hurdles this season. The plan had gone well until Wednesday night — including winning titles at the SEC meet and NCAA West Prelims — when he ran 49.82 and finished third in his heat.
Owens-Delerme had the 10th-fastest time in the semifinals and missed making the final by one spot.
LSU junior Sean Burrell, the two-time defending NCAA champion, also failed to make the final. He ran 49.84 and had the 11th-fastest time while finishing fourth in his heat.
Owens-Delerme is planning to compete in the decathlon in the World Championships for Puerto Rico and is continuing to train for all 10 events.
“Ayden just didn’t have the usual energy,” Bucknam said. “He doesn’t really train for [the 400-meter hurdles specifically. He’s still training for the decathlon, and I think it caught up to him. … I had a fear that might happen. I didn’t want to say anything, didn’t want to jinx him.
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“But at this level, if you don’t train for a particular event year around, at some point the rounds at the NCAA meet are going to get you, and I think that’s what happened to Ayden.”
Arkansas junior Phillip Lemonious ran a personal-best 13.28 to take the top time in the 110-meter hurdles semifinals and advance to the final.
“Phillip had a great effort,” Bucknam said. “He’s got to turn around and do it in the final, but he looks the best I’ve seen him.”
Through five events of the decathlon Arkansas junior Yariel Soto Torrado is fifth with 4,266 points.
“Soto’s right there in the mix,” Bucknam said. “He’s having a great meet. I’m looking forward to watching him finish it up tomorrow.”
Razorbacks senior Daniel Spejcher is 18th with 3,877 points. Junior Marcus Weaver, who took second at the SEC meet, suffered a foot injury and didn’t finish the 400 and is in 23rd with 3,002 points.
Texas junior Leo Neugebauer leads the decathlon with 4,597 points and Georgia junior Kyle Garland, the collegiate record holder and this year’s SEC champion, is second with 4,570.
The Razorbacks’ 1,600 relay advanced to the final as Lance Lang, James Benson, Connor Washington and Christopher Bailey ran 3:00.97 and won its heat Wednesday night’s final event.
“Nobody had us for points in the 4 by 4, and we’re going to score,” Bucknam said. “But we’re going to be a factor in the final.”
In the meet’s first event the 400 relay of Lang, Washington, Tre’Bien Gilbert and Benson ran a season-best 39.23, but didn’t advance to the final. Bailey ran 45.55 to take 14th in the 400 semifinals and didn’t advance.
“I think we had a great day,” Bucknam said. “On our form chart we had us scoring 17 points, and we got 21.
“Nothing’s going to go perfect and you’re going to get knocked down on the canvas a couple times, but we’re still standing and fighting. I feel we’re in a good spot.”
The Razorbacks will finish the decathlon today, then compete in Friday night’s finals, including freshman Jaydon Hibbert, the collegiate record-holder in the triple jump.
Women’s events begin Thursday with No. 3 Arkansas led by juniors Britton Wilson in the 400 and 400 hurdles, Amanda Fassold in the pole vault and Ackera Nugent in the 100 hurdles.
Mitchell Gladstone from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette contributed information for this report
Men’s team scores from Wednesday night at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with 6 of 21 events scored:
1. Arkansas 21
2. Stanford 18
3. Arizona 16
4. LSU 15
5. Harvard 13
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