Career-best long jump gets runner-up spot for Nairn at Razorback Invitational

PHOTO BY RAZORBACK SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS

FAYETTEVILLE — A career-best long jump of 26-0¾ (7.94) earned runner-up honors for Laquan Nairn during the first day of the Razorback Invitational while the Arkansas distance medley relay placed third with a time of 9:40.15.

Nairn only attempted a pair of jumps since he will return to contest the triple jump on Saturday as he finished in second place behind a 26-6 ½ (8.09) effort by LSU’s Rayvon Grey.

The opening round jump of 26-0 ¾ by Nairn improved his previous indoor best of 25-10 (7.87) set in 2018.

“I was really pleased with Laquan in the long jump,” said Arkansas men’s coach Chris Bucknam. “He put a big one out there early and is going to triple jump tomorrow, so he limited his attempts today. I’m just really, really happy for him in watching him start to put everything together.”

The Razorback distance medley relay included a foursome that was racing together for the first time.

A 9:40.15 effort was produced by Kieran Taylor (2:57.32), Jalen Brown (46.04), Hunter Woodhall (1:50.61) and Cameron Griffith (4:06.18).

They finished behind Oregon’s record run as well as a 9:36.16 by Texas, while defeating Florida (9:44.97) and Stanford (9:47.05).

“I think we have a really good team,” said Bucknam. “It’s just going to take some time to develop. We still have potential to qualify in this event and be among the 12 teams who will race in national championships.

“That was Cameron’s first race on the anchor, it was Hunter’s first race at 800m really, and he’s only done that in practice and produced a 1:50, which was outstanding. Jalen gave us a great leg with a 46 flat and KT at the front did a good job running his first 1,200m.”

A crowd of 1,488 at the Randal Tyson Indoor Track Center was treated to a collegiate record as Oregon clocked 9:24.52 to break the previous mark of 9:25.97 set by Texas in this same venue in 2008.

“Hats off to Oregon, what a great run they had,” noted Bucknam. “To be out in front and to run that fast by yourselves shows not only a lot of talent, but a lot of guts. I’m glad they ran that well, since we wanted fast times. Unfortunately, it made everyone else look slow.”

Through the first day of the heptathlon, Markus Ballengee led an Arkansas foursome in the event scoring 3,022 points and is currently in ninth place among a field of 21.

The other three Razorbacks in the heptathlon included Daniel Spejcher (2,890), Etamar Bhastekar (2,825) and Tyler Brendel (2,715).

Arkansas alum Andrew Erwin cleared 18-1 (5.51) in an Olympic development pole vault.

Action in the Razorback Invitational continues on Saturday, starting at 10:40 a.m. with the continuation of the heptathlon.

Featured events in the 1-4 p.m. time frame will be shown on SEC Network+.

Information from Razorback Sports Communications is included in this story.