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UA men, women start strong at NCAA meet
Arkansas' Carey McLeod competes in the long jump during the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday, March 10, 2023, in Albuquerque, N.M.
The University of Arkansas men’s track team jumped into the early lead during the NCAA Indoor Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
The duo of Carey McLeod and Wayne Pinnock turned in a 1-4 finish in the long jump and provided the Razorbacks with 15 of their 20 points during Friday’s portion of the meet.
McLeod, a senior, went a facility-record 27 feet, 6 3/4 inches on his final attempt to win the event, eclipsing the previous facility mark of 27-6 1/4 set by former Arkansas standout Jarrion Lawson in 2014 and the distance Mississippi State’s Cameron Crump jumped to take the lead in an earlier round.
“I knew I had to come in here and pull something special off if I was going to get the win,” McLeod said. “I knew I was the underdog coming into the SEC [meet]. Nobody was expecting me to win, and I think that’s what defines a champion — you win when you’re not supposed to.”
Sophomore Wayne Pinnock took fourth place at 27-4 to give Arkansas five more points in the event.
The Razorbacks’ other scoring came from Patrick Kiprop, who finished sixth in the 5,000 meters with a time of 13 minutes, 45.16 seconds, and the distance medley team of Ben Shearer, James Benson, Leory Russell and Elias Schreml with a seventh-place finish in 9:34.82.
In other events, Christopher Bailey turned in the best 400 time of 45.33 seconds to advance to today’s final. In the men’s heptathlon earlier Friday, junior Ayden Owens-Delerme picked up 3,618 points through four events and will go into today’s final three events in second place, trailing Georgia senior Kyle Garland by 155 points.
Ole Miss is second in the men’s division with 14 points followed by BYU's 12.
In the women’s division, Arkansas could score a maximum of 20 points during the first part of the championships, and the Razorbacks barely missed out on doing it.
Amanda Fassold’s victory in the pole vault (14 feet, 71/4 inches) and a close second-place finish in the distance medley relay gave Arkansas 18 points and put the Razorbacks in second place.
Florida claimed the early lead with 21 points, followed by Arkansas. North Carolina State (17), Notre Dame (16) and Ole Miss (16) are right behind Arkansas and round out the top five teams with 6 of 17 events scored.
“We’re ahead of our schedule,” Arkansas Coach Lance Harter said. “Hopefully we can cash in on some of the people that advanced to the final.”
The distance medley relay team of Mary Ellen Eudaly, Paris Peoples, Lainey Quandt and Lauren Gregory combined to finish in 10 minutes, 56.61 seconds.
Gregory, who earlier advanced to the finals in the mile, ran the fastest anchor leg in 4:31.36, rallied Arkansas from sixth to second, just behind Stanford’s winning time of 10:56.34.
Sophomore Ackera Nugent highlighted Arkansas’ performances in prelim races when she set the meet record and collegiate record in the 60-meter hurdles. Her time of 7.72 seconds, which broke the meet record was 7.78 by Grace Stark of Florida last year, and the collegiate record was 7.75 set by Masai Russell of Kentucky in January.
Meanwhile, Britton Wilson had the meet’s best time in the 400 with a personal-best time of 50.69 seconds and was one of three Arkansas runners to move on to the finals. She is joined by Amber Anning, who had the fourth-best time of 51.42 seconds, and Rose Effiong, whose time of 51.73 seconds was the seventh-best time.
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