LEXINGTON, Kent. — The Arkansas men’s track and field team finished in second place at the 2014 SEC Outdoor Championship.
Overall, Arkansas finished the weekend with a runner-up total of 116.5 points and crowned three SEC Champions in Raymond Higgs in long jump and Kebenei in steeplechase and the 5,000-meter. In addition, the Razorbacks earned three silver and three bronze medals.
“Our kids competed really hard, I’m proud of all of them,” Arkansas coach Chris Bucknam said. “We came to this meet to win, thought we had a chance, but Texas A&M caught fire in the second half of today and we just couldn’t keep up. My hats off to Texas A&M for a great meet. It’s disappointing because this would have been our third Triple Crown, but we held on for second and competed with a lot of pride and effort.”
Stanley Kebenei won his second title of the week with a time of 14:11.27 in the 5,000-meter, followed by teammates Solomon Haile (14:20.95) in fifth and Gabe Gonzalez (14:22.32) in sixth to give Arkansas 17 points from the event.
Patrick Rono had an impressive day, running both of his races within an hour of each other. Rono finished fifth in the 1,500-meter at 3:50.26, turning around an hour later with a fourth-place in the 800-meter with a time of 1:48.40. Rono was followed by Tomas Squella in the 800-meter, with Squella’s time of 1:48.53 coming in fifth to score for Arkansas.
The hurdles were a success for the freshman duo of Omar McCleod and Larry Donald, scoring in their first appearances at an SEC Outdoor Championship meet. McCleod earned a runner-up finish in the 110-meter hurdles, clocking in at 13.57, a time that ranks in the top five all time at Arkansas, McLeod picked up the all-time No. 2 110-meter hurdles time in Saturday’s prelims with 13.51. Donald had a huge performance in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing in 52.08 for a sixth place spot.
The 4x100-meter relay team of Eric Hawkins, Jarrion Lawson, Neil Braddy and McCleod finished strong with a time of 39.54 for fifth place. The event marked Hawkins and McLoed’s first 4x100 championship race.
Anthony May had a bronze-medal performance in high jump clearing 6-11.75 for a third-place finish to score for the Razorbacks. Dwayne Golbek also scored in the event, with a seventh place finish at 6-9.75. Immediately follow high jump, May led the Razorbacks in triple jump, finishing fourth with a mark of 51-3.75. Raymond Higgs came in seventh at 50-6, while Clive Pullen scored in his first-ever SEC outdoor meet with a jump of 49-7.75 for eighth place.
Andrew Irwin had a strong performance in pole vault, finishing fourth in an elite field of the nation’s top vaulters at 17-11.25.
The Razorbacks continue their postseason schedule May 29-31 when they host the 2014 NCAA West Preliminary at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.
“We have some big fish to fry coming up,” Bucknam said. “We’re hosting the West Preliminary on our home track in two weeks, hopefully we’ll get a strong crowd out for that. We’ll try to do the best we can.”