Matt Jones is the editor of the Hawgs Sports Network. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has a bachelor's and master's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas.
Razorbacks win men's title to sweep NCAA indoor meet
Ayden Owens-Delerme, a junior at the University of Arkansas, places sixth in the men's heptathlon high jump finals during the NCAA college Indoor Track and Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. Friday, March 10, 2023. (Chancey Bush/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)
FAYETTEVILLE — The Arkansas men’s track and field team won its first NCAA championship in a decade Saturday night.
The Razorbacks scored 63 points to win the team title at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. Georgia was second with 40 points.
Arkansas’ men and women swept at an NCAA meet for the first time. The Razorbacks won the women’s title with 64 points.
It was the first title for the men’s program since the 2013 indoor meet in Fayetteville. The Arkansas men have won 21 indoor titles.
"We lived to be in this position again and we just took advantage of it," said Chris Bucknam, who won his second NCAA title. "Our guys did a phenomenal job. My coaches did a phenomenal job. We just try to embrace it and enjoy it."
"For 10 years we've been really good and we've been on the podium a bunch of times," Bucknam added. "We've had four national runner-up trophies [indoors and outdoors combined]. Every time we look at that we feel like jumping off a cliff, but we got it done this time. I'm just so happy with how these guys did it. There's nothing better than seeing the joy in their faces."
Jaydon Hibbert (triple jump) and Carey McLeod (long jump) won individual championships for the Razorbacks, and Arkansas’ mile relay team of Connor Washington, James Benson, Ayden Owens-Delerme and Christoper Bailey won in 3:02.09.
Benson, who ran the second leg of the relay, took the baton in third place, but passed to Owens-Delerme in first after a 400-meter split of 44.91 seconds. Bailey ran the anchor leg in 44.15.
Hibbert, a freshman, set a collegiate record with a triple jump of 57 feet, 6 1/2 inches.
McLeod won with a long jump of 27-6 3/4. He contributed three points to the team score with a sixth-place finish in the triple jump with a distance of 53-7 3/4.
Arkansas also got eight points when Owens-Delerme finished second in the heptathlon with 6,518 points. Owens-Delerme broke the collegiate record in the heptathlon 60 hurdles with a time of 7.73.
Yariel Soto Torrado of Arkansas finished sixth in the heptathlon with 6,047 points.
Other scorers for the Razorbacks on Saturday were Jordan West with a fifth-place shot put of 67-2; Bailey with a fifth-place time of 45.32 in the 400; and Lance Lang with an eighth-place time of 20.75 in the 200.
Wayne Pinnock (27-4) finished fourth in the long jump and Patrick Kiprop (13:45.16) sixth in the 5,000 in Friday’s individual finals. The Arkansas distance medley relay team of Ben Shearer, Benson, Leroy Russell and Elias Schreml finished seventh Friday with a time of 9:34.82.
"I think everybody we brought here scored points," Bucknam said. "From the distance medley to the 4x4 to the shot put — we just put it together. We were dialed in and we came here on a mission. We were pleased with that SEC championship, but to win this national title really is special."
CORRECTION: Team scores were adjusted after a protest in the mile relay, which led to Arkansas winning by 23 points instead of 25.
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