SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Arkansas track and field has completed day three of competition at the NCAA Championships at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium.
“Nkosinza (Balumbu) is in the final and he’s in a position to win the meet if he wants to,” head coach John McDonnell said. “He can win the event. That’s entirely up to him.”
Nkosinza Balumbu started the day off strong in the triple jump prelims. Competing a mere 90 minutes from his hometown in the Bay Area, Balumbu advanced to Saturday’s event finals with a ninth-place finish and a leap of 51-0.25. Slightly hampered by a strong wind and a sore right heel, Balumbu feels confident that little can hold him back during Saturday’s finals.
“I made it to the finals and that’s all that matters,” Balumbu said. “Nothing carries over and we start with a clean slate in the finals. I’ve been battling a sore right heel but it’s not something that will hold me back too much. The wind was also a factor today so I was a little tentative, especially after fouling on my first attempt.”
Balumbu’s first attempt, ruled a foul, was in the 52-feet range. He followed up with a 51-0.25 and ended the competition recording a 50-11 jump.
Sophomore James Strang was another bright spot for the Hogs. His 12th-place did not score any points but showed incredible promise for the rest of his Razorback career. He clocked a 14:03.40 and one spot away from earning All-America honors.
“I think James (Strang) in the 5,000 meters was a bright spot for us,” McDonnell said. “He went out there like a true Razorback and got a personal best. That’s all I can ask for. James has a great future at Arkansas ahead of him.”
Peter Kosgei ended his season with an 11th-place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Floating among the top three for the first six laps, Kosgei faded quickly and, at the bell lap, sat in seventh place. He crossed the line in a time of 8:45.40.
“Peter (Kosgei) was more of the same,” McDonnell said. “It’s his senior year and I guess he decided to bag it. During finals he wasn’t doing workouts and always had excuses. That showed today.”
For complete results, schedule and details of the NCAA Championships, visit www.hornetsports.com.