A bevy of big marks verified the caliber of teams competing in the Razorback Invitational this weekend inside the Randal Tyson Track Center as Arkansas produced its share of national level performances.
In team scoring Oregon edged out the Razorbacks, who didn’t run the 4×400 or distance medley relays, by a single point, 117-116, while Ole Miss finished third with 73 points.
The rest of the field included Georgia (64), USC (30), Iowa State (24), Mississippi State (22), and Colorado (16).
“It was an outstanding track meet across the board,” stated men’s coach Chris Bucknam. “There were a lot of national leading performances, certainly our guys were part of that. We had some great efforts, which included the heptathlon, hurdles, sprints and 3k.
“We got stung with the covid protocol and lost Amon Kemboi this weekend due to contact tracing. Eventually, he will be ok in a couple of days. Losing him, though, kicked us out of the distance medley relay on Friday night and Amon missed a great race in the 3,000m today.”
Markus Ballengee totaled 5,827 points in winning the heptathlon and remains in the No. 4 position on the Arkansas all-time list. His performance currently ranks him second on the collegiate list and No. 5 on the 2021 world list.
Ballengee’s previous best score was 5,706 points from a silver medal effort in the 2020 SEC Indoor meet.
The second day marks for Ballengee included an 8.02 in the 60m hurdles for 977 points, which moved him into the overall lead. Then a 15-11 vault added 865 points and he closed out the win with a 2:44.40 in the 1,000m for 825 points.
“Last year at this meet, Markus had to drop out,” said Bucknam. “So, this weekend was kind of a bugaboo for him, in the back of his head, I’m sure. He put up a real solid score and there is a lot more in the tank for Markus. Etamar set a national record for Isreal and Spejcher did a great job as well.”
Runner-up to Ballengee’s big score was Oregon’s Max Vollmer with 5,734 points while Karel Tilga of Georgia totaled 5,713 in third place.
Arkansas’ Etamar Bhastekar improved is Isreal national record with a score of 5,680 points, the fifth best score by a Razorback, as he finished fourth overall. He moved from seventh to third place after leading the pole vault a 17-2.75 (5.25) clearance that gathered 988 points.
Daniel Spejcher, a third Razorback in the heptathlon, placed sixth with 5,508 points, which earned him the No. 10 position on the Arkansas all-time list.
Tre’Bien Gilbert clocked 7.84 to claim the 60m hurdles with Shaka Bogan placing fourth in 8.11 after posting a prelim time of 8.06. Jesse Henderson of Mississippi State was runner-up in 7.93 while Kenney Broadnax of Ole Miss ran 8.01 for third.
A runner-up finish in the 800m had Kieran Taylor lowering his career best to 1:48.66 while Jadon Bartholomew clocked a PR of 1:51.56 to place sixth. Ryan Brown hit a mark of 52-1.75 (15.89) for second place in the triple jump with Andrew Gilreath finishing fourth at 48-1.75 (14.67).
Roman Turner clocked 6.66 for third place in the 60m final, bettering his previous career best of 6.69 as he remained in the No. 5 position on the Arkansas all-time list. Oregon frosh Micah Williams won the race in a collegiate leading 6.56 over USC’s Brendon Stewart (6.64).
Razorbacks finished 3-4-7 in the 400m with a trio of Jalen Brown (46.56), James Milholen (46.71), and Rhayko Schwartz (48.24). It was the third consecutive week for Milholen to set a PR time.
Gilbert Boit improved his career best in the 3,000m to 7:53.62 for fifth place in a very competitive field. Boit’s previous PR was 8:01.63.
A career best was also turned in by Jacob McLeod (8:02.21), who won the first section over teammate Matt Young (8:03.83). They placed eighth and ninth overall.
Information from Arkansas Communications is included in this story.