EUGENE, Ore. – Resolute in its pursuit of national success, the No. 5 Arkansas men’s track and field team held nothing back on the first day of the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship at the historic Hayward Field in Eugene.
Arkansas senior and 15-time All-American Jarrion Lawson struck gold for the fourth time in his career claiming the NCAA outdoor long jump title with a best mark of 8.15m/26-9.
The Bowerman Watch List selection entered the final round in sixth position with a best jump of 7.57m/24-10 from his second attempt. Coming off the 200-meter semifinal, Lawson opened up the long jump finals in remarkable form, improving by almost two full feet with a mark of 8.13m/26-8 1/4. He closed the evening with a 3/4 inch improvement to earn 10 points in his final collegiate long jump performance as a Razorback.
Lawson is the fourth Razorback in history to sweep the NCAA indoor and outdoor long jump competition (Mike Conley, Erick Walder and Robert Howard).
“Jarrion, what an unbelievable performance he had today,” said head coach Chris Bucknam. “He looked fabulous in the 4-x-1, then qualified for finals in the 100, finished with the second fastest time of the day in the day in the 200 and come back and put up a big jump to win the long jump. All in all, he was the performer of the day in mind.”
Another Arkansas senior delivered dividends for the Razorbacks as Springdale native Gabe Gonzalez completed his career in cardinal red and white as a first team All-American from a bronze-medal finish in the 10,000.
Gonzalez took off from the sound of the gun and maintained pace with the lead pack through the majority of the race. With 2K left, Gonzalez joined an elite group of six including distance talents Futsum Zienasellassie of Northern Arizona and
Edward Cheserek of Oregon distancing themselves from the rest of the field.
In the final 400 of the 25 lap-race, Gonzalez displayed hidden strength powering around the second bend and on to the home stretch to score six points, the first points of the night for Arkansas.
“I can’t tell you how much work he’s (Gonzalez) put in and how focused he was,” said Bucknam. “It was just a phenomenal performance for Gabe, being an All-American and finishing third. He nearly won it. I’m awfully, awfully proud of Gabe, not just because how fast he ran or the points he put up but because of the kind of athlete he is.”
NCAATF Final Section Qualifiers
Seven-time All-American Kenzo Cotton kicked off his day as the lead-off leg for the Razorback 4-x-100 relay team, pacing the quartet to a heat one victory with the fastest time of the day at 38.71 seconds. He returned to the track a second time, further impressing the crowd by clocking the fourth-fastest time of the day in the 100 with a 10.07, moving up from No. 9 to No. 2 in program history. Cotton closed out the night earning the final spot in Friday’s 200 final off a 20.61 performance in a fast heat three.
With four career national gold medals in hand, Lawson secured three more opportunities for NCAA top honors qualifying for Friday’s final section of the 100, 200 and as a member of the 4-x-100 relay. The Texarkana, Texas, native posted impressive times in his individual races coming through as the heat two winner in the 100 (10.13) and as the heat one runner-up in the 200 (20.28).
Along with Cotton and Lawson the Razorback 4-x-100 also featured program newcomers Josh Washington and Kemar Mowatt who ran the third and fourth legs, respectively. The quartet’s performance was the second best in program history behind the 2015 NCAA national championship-winning team.
Southeastern Conference 3,000-meter steeplechase champion Frankline Tonui dropped five seconds from his previous personal best in the event crossing the finish as the fourth best performer of the day in 8 minutes, 34.08 seconds. The cross country All-American out of Nakuru, Kenya, will look to score points for the Razorbacks in the steeple finals on
Friday at 7:54 p.m.
The Razorback men will resume competition at Hayward Field on Thursday, June 9 with the decathlon 110 hurdles at 12:30 p.m. CST.
NCAA Outdoor Championship
100 Meters semifinal
Jarrion Lawson (3) – 10.13Q (heat winner)
Kenzo Cotton (8) – 10.07Q
Marqueze Washington (13) – 10.31
200 Meters semifinal
Jarrion Lawson (4) – 20.28Q
Kenzo Cotton (8) – 20.61Q
Marqueze Washington (22) – 21.95
400 Meters semifinal
Obi Igbokwe (22) – 46.93
800 Meters semifinal
Ryan Thomas (17) – 1:48.79
10,000 Meters final
Gabe Gonzalez (3) – 29:11.09
400 Meter Hurdles semifinal
Larry Donald (13) – 50.96
3,000 Meter Steeplechase semifinal
Frankline Tonui (7) – 8:34.08Q
4-x-100 Relay semifinal
Arkansas A: K. Cotton, J. Lawson, J. Washington, K. Mowatt (1) – 38.71Q
4-x-400 Relay semifinal
Arkansas A: O. Igbokwe, K. Mowatt, E, Janise, J. Stephen (11) – 3:05.61
Long Jump final
Jarrion Lawson (1) – 8.15m/26-9
Andreas Trajkovski (9) – 7.58m/24-10 1/2
Kurt Jenner (20) – 7.24m/23-9
Decathlon (after five events)
Derek Jacobus (14) – 3,855
Brad Culp (22) – 3,609
Q denotes final section qualifier.
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.