EUGENE, Ore. – On the opening day of the men’s NCAA Track & Field Championships, Arkansas competed in front of a crowd of 9,767, the largest day one attendance since 2010, advancing two relays and four individuals to their respective event finals.
“We have the second-most qualifiers into the finals,” said head coach Chris Bucknam.
“We have two decathletes who are battling to get back into scoring position in Gabe [Moore] and Derek [Jacobus]. Derek set a personal best after day one, and Gabe tied a personal-best in the quarter. We’re hoping for those guys to get back into scoring position and bring home some points, that’s the main goal. Kenzo had a tough draw in the 100-meters, he ran a phenomenal time into a negative wind and then the next two heats had positive wind and he ended up missing the final by the smallest of margins, it was just unfortunate. But overall it was an outstanding day, I’m pleased with the effort our guys put out there today. I’m looking forward to the guys having a rest day tomorrow and keeping our foot on the accelerator when we return to the track on Friday.”
Derek Jacobus and Gabe Moore opened the meet for the Razorbacks in the men’s decathlon. Jacobus and Moore are currently in 11th and 14th-place, respectively with their day one totals of 4,010 and 3,983 through five events. Jacobus’ total is a day one personal best for the senior from Palo, Iowa.
In the opening event on the track for the Razorbacks, Arkansas fielded a sprint relay group of Kristoffer Hari, Kemar Mowatt, and Kevin Harris, placing Kenzo Cotton on the anchor leg.
Entering the meet having recorded the fastest time in the NCAA this season, the Razorbacks finished with an auto-Q time of 38.54 trailing only Florida who eclipsed Arkansas’ NCAA-leading seed time finishing in a new collegiate-leading time of 38.49. With the qualification through to the final in the 4-x-100-meters, this marks the fourth-straight year Arkansas will be in the final of the event at the NCAA Championships.
In the prelims of the 1,500-meters, Cameron Griffith ran a strategic race, running with the pack for the first 1,200-meters before swinging wide with 300-meters to go and making a move into third-place. Griffith held put for 200-meters before cementing himself in the top-five earning an auto-Q spot to Friday’s final finishing with a time of 3:47.93Q.
Obi Igbokwe had a breakthrough performance in the prelims of the men’s 400-meters where the junior finished the one-lap race with the third-fastest time in program history. Igbokwe posted a time of 44.94 to finish second in his heat grabbing an auto-Q spot into Friday’s final.
Kemar Mowatt returns to the finals of the men’s 400-meter hurdles following a heat-winning time of 49.98. The senior from St. Elizabeth, Jamaica looks to capitalize on his return trip to the final of the 400-hurdles after finishing third last season at this meet.
Cotton, who already advanced to the finals as a member of the 4-x-100-meter relay, bounced back from a non-advancing run of 10.14 in the 100-meter prelims to advance to the finals in the 200-meters grabbing the final spot in with a season-best run of 20.38 in the prelims.
Closing out the meet for Arkansas was the 4-x-400-meter relay. The Razorback worked their way back to the NCAA final running a time of 3:03.98 earning an auto-Q finishing second in the final heat of prelims.
Also competing on day one of the NCAA Championships was Larry Donald in the 110-meter hurdles running a time of 13.93 in the prelims to finish in 17th-place, and Harrison Schrage in the men’s long jump capping the competition with a personal-best jump of 7.70m (25-3.25″) for 14th-place.
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.