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 four times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame.
SEC Outdoors Day 2: West wins SEC again, but this time for Hogs
Jordan West of Arkansas competes in the shot-put during the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Friday, May 12, 2023, in Baton Rouge, La.
Jordan West won his second consecutive SEC shot put title at the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and this time it was for the University of Arkansas after the transfer from Tennessee finished first for the Vols last year.
West set an Arkansas record with his personal-best throw of 67 feet, 6 inches on Friday night at LSU’s Bernie Moore Stadium in Baton Rouge.
The No. 1-ranked Razorbacks also got a 1-2 finish in the long jump from sophomore Wayne Pinnock and senior Carey McLeod, who also both transferred to Arkansas this year from Tennessee.
“It’s definitely interesting to do that,” West said of winning back-to-back SEC titles for Tennessee and Arkansas. “I’m just glad I could repeat as the outdoor champion and do it for the Hogs this time.”
LSU senior John Mayer took second (67-3 1/4) after beating West for the SEC title indoors.
“Jordan has been an unbelievable addition to our program,” Arkansas men’s Coach Chris Bucknam said. “To beat the LSU kid on his home track, that was pretty special, so we’re really proud of Jordan.”
West, whose winning throw came on his fourth attempt, broke the Arkansas outdoor record of 66-9 1/2, which had been held by Marty Kobza since 1985.
West broke the UA shot put indoor record at the SEC meet with a throw of 66-7 to break the mark of 66-9 1/4 held by Scott Lofquist since 1983.
“It was definitely part of my goal to break [the UA’s] indoor and outdoor records,” West said. “I’m glad I could break them at the SEC Championships where it really matters.”
West became the Razorbacks’ first SEC shot put champion since Marcus Clavelle in 2000.
“It’s nice to be the first Hog to win it in the 21st century,” West said.
Pinnock won his second consecutive SEC long jump title outdoors with a personal-best leap of 27-5 1/2 — which leads the collegiate ranks this season — after finishing first for the Vols last year.
McLeod, the SEC champion in 2021, went 26-8 1/2 to finish second to Pinnock for the second consecutive year.
Arkansas scored 21 points in the long jump with senior Ryan Brown seventh (25-2 3/4) and junior Shakwon Coke eighth (25-2).
“A lot of welcome points there,” Bucknam said. “It shows the depth of horizontal jumpers.
“You’re going to see some good triple jumping [today] as well.”
Arkansas junior Marcus Weaver, a junior transfer from Wisconsin-Eau Claire who won the NCAA Division III decathlon title last year, finished second with a career-best 7,910 points. He had the top javelin throw Friday with a personal-best 215-4 and also had a best in the discus at 147-2.
“Marcus is a great competitor,” Bucknam said. “We have a great training group, and he just came in and fit in and listened to [assistant coach] Travis [Geopfert]. He’s a real coachable kid.
“To come into this environment from Wisconsin-Eau Claire and finish second in the SEC meet, it’s impressive. Travis said he thought [Weaver] was going to be a pretty special athlete, and he was right.”
Senior Daniel Spejcher finished fifth for the Razorbacks with 7,264 points and senior Roje Stona, a transfer from Clemson, finished fifth in the shot put at 63-11 3/4.
Arkansas freshman Jack Williams finished sixth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, running a personal-best 9:05.17. Junior Tomas Ferrari cleared 6-10 1/4 to take seventh in the high jump.
Seniors Phillip Lemonious and Matthew Lewis-Banks advanced to the 110-meter hurdles final for the Razorbacks with wind-aided times of 13.42 and 13.77, respectively. Arkansas senior James Benson advanced in the 400 (44.97) and sophomore Elias Schreml in the 1,500 (3:51.83).
The Razorbacks lead the team race through eight of 21 finals completed with 57 points. Georgia is second with 35 points, but Bucknam said Tennessee — tied for 10th with 14 points — could be Arkansas’ top challenger.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” Bucknam said. “Tennessee had a really good day. They’ve got a lot of qualifiers.
“We had them in the top three on our projection list. I think they’re the ones that are going to be chasing us.”
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