FAYETTEVILLE – Kevin Lazas’ school-record in the decathlon highlighted Saturday’s action at the John McDonnell Invitational for the No. 12 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team. The Razorback freshman entered as the leader and finished the day with an Arkansas school record 7,542 points. Including Lazas’ performance, the Razorbacks finished the day with three event wins during the wet, oft-delayed competition.
"Kevin did a great job in some rough conditions," assistant andmulti-events coach Travis Geopfert said. "It rained all day long yet he still ponied up and found a way to get the job done. It’s pretty special for a freshman to be able to do that. He put up a big score. I’m proud of all of our guys in the decathlon. In the 1,500, they all had to run fast to get it done, and they did it. You can’t ask for anything more than that."
Competing in his first collegiate decathlon, Lazas placed his name atop the program’s performance list with 7,542 points and surpassed the previous mark of 7,266 points set by David Wehmeyer back in 1983. The decathlon mark had been the oldest remaining record in the Razorbacks’ storied records book. Based on results posted through Saturday evening, Lazas has the third-best decathlon in the SEC and is ranked No. 14 in the country. He is also the Razorback school-record holder in the indoor heptathlon.
Matt Kirbos finished seventh in the decathlon with a personal-best total of 6,441 points. The Razorback sophomore established personal bests in the final three events of the day-pole vault, javelin and 1,500 meters. Kirbos had a total of four personal bests during the two-day competition.
In the final individual event of the day, Dorian Ulrey finished third in the invitational section of the 1,500 meters. Making his season debut at the distance, Ulrey clocked a time of 3:42.76. Tom Cattin-Masson pulled another top-10 finish for Arkansas with a ninth-place finish in 3:45.56. Cameron Efurd was 14th overall in a personal-best time of 3:49.55. The team’s other finishers in the race were Patrick Russell (3:51.92) and Scott Gillespie (3:55.97).
"It seems like we’re seeing epic rain," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "We got some things done though. We’re inching closer to where we need to be. We did a great job with our decathlete. Overall, through the rainy conditions, we had some good performances."
The Razorbacks picked up their first win of the day in the high jump. In his first outdoor result of the season, Brede Raa Ellingsen cleared 7-0.25 to finish ahead of teammate Noah Kittelson. Both cleared the same height but Ellingsen was the victory with fewer misses throughout the competition. The clearance for Kittelson is a personal best. Raymond Higgs tied for third place at 6-9.
Leoman Momoh ran to victory in the 800 meters through a steady rainfall. Running in heat one, he posted a personal-best time of 1:49.55. The top four all finished within .66 seconds of each other, including fourth-place performer Chris Bilbrew. The Razorback senior finished with a time of 1:50.21. Arkansas’ other runners in the event were Omar Abdi (1:54.01) and Jordan Bryant (1:58.51).
Caleb Cross finished second overall and was the top collegiate in the 110-meter hurdles. The Razorback sophomore crossed in a time of 14.43. Teammate Andrew Pennington finished the race in 15.05 and turned in a third-place showing. Cross returned to the track later Saturday evening to win the 200 meters in a time of 21:58. In the 100 meters, LaShawn Butler was the team’s lone representative with a fourth-place finish in a time of 10.80.
In the 400 meters, Marek Niit led a 2-3-5 for Arkansas. He was the top collegiate with a time of 46.67 in the first open 400 meters of his Razorback career. Ben Skidmore turned in a time of 47.52, good for third place, and Cory Kocurek had a personal-best time of 49.29 to finish fifth.
Travis Southard ran a personal-best time of 53.27 in a third-place showing in the 400-meter hurdles. His previous best of 53.75 was set last season at the Arkansas Twilight. Hunter Bourke was fourth overall in a season-best 53.69 while Pennington (54.43) rounded out the Razorbacks’ performers with a fifth-place finish.
Arkansas returns to action April 28-30 with the team splitting between Penn Relays in Philadelphia and the Jordan Payton Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif. The Razorbacks’ next home meet is May 6 with the Arkansas Twilight. For more information and continued coverage, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.