EUGENE, Ore. – Arkansas junior Kemar Mowatt was the star of the day for the No. 5 Razorbacks in the opening rounds of competition at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene.
The SEC 400-meter hurdle champion raced to a new program record of 48.64, edging out defending national champion, Florida’s Eric Futch, to win heat two of the event semifinal. Mowatt was the only Razorback to make it out of the semifinal rounds solo. He also helped Arkansas’ 4-x-100-meter relay team advance to the finals as the second leg of the fast quartet.
“Coach Case told me to take it easy for the first 200 meters and I did,” Mowatt said. “That way I was able to judge my race based on where everybody was. He told me just to win it, not to do anything crazy and run a 47. I just listened to him and did that, so I’m grateful and thankful to God for the win. I feel good [heading into finals], I feel confident and I’m ready.”
Points on the Board
Senior Andreas Trajkovski was the first Razorback to secure a top-eight finish at the national meet, marking 7.62m/25-0 in the long jump to score one point for Arkansas. His best jump came early in the series, on his second attempt. Trajkovski pursued an improved mark in the finals but fouled his fourth leap and came up short on his fifth and sixth jumps.
“We always knew that our big point day was going to be the second day but Andreas [Trajkovski] did a great job in the long jump, becoming a first team All-American and getting us on the board,” head coach Chris Bucknam said.
Scoring Opportunities (Friday)
Arkansas will have five chances to score on the final day of the outdoor championships. The Razorbacks advanced both of its relay teams, Mowatt in the 400 hurdles will add two-time All-American Jack Bruce (5,000) and two-time national champion Clive Pullen (triple jump).
Sophomore Roy Ejiakuekwu stepped up in a big way for the Hogs as the lead leg of the 4-x-100-meter relay team and the second leg of the 4-x-400-meter relay team. Ejiakuekwu split 45.65 over the quarter-mile, gaining a slight lead over the field along the way before handing off the baton to anchor leg Obi Igbokwe. Arkansas’ 4-x-400-meter relay team closed out the evening with the eighth-best time of the day.
The Razorbacks are one of only three programs (Auburn, Texas A&M) to advance both relays to the NCAA finals.
Decathletes Derek Jacobus and Gabe Moore remain in the hunt for a podium spot in the 10-event competition, which they will complete tomorrow afternoon. Moore currently sits in 13th place while Jacobus closely trails him in 16th place.
“It was a tough day but we’re still in the position to make some noise here on Friday,” Bucknam said. “I’m impressed with the fight of our guys, having been through the ringer with a lot of the other teams here. There were a lot of points by a lot of teams that were left out there today because of the battles we’ve been through. We did get both our relays and Mowatt through. We’ve got both decathletes in the mix, a two-time All-American Jack Bruce in a straight 5k final, a two-time national champion Clive Pullen and both relays on the second day. I think the contention for a national title is out but we’re going to keep battling and scraping for every point we can get to reach the podium.”
Arkansas NCAA Event Schedule
Thursday, June 8
Decathlon (Jacobus, Moore)
12:30 p.m. – 110mH
1:20 p.m. – Discus
2:30 p.m. – Pole Vault
5 p.m. – Javelin
8:56 p.m. – 1,500m
Friday, June 9
7:32 p.m. – Men’s 4-x-100m Final (Ejiakuekwu, Mowatt, Washington, Cotton)
8:57 p.m. – Men’s 400mH Final (Mowatt)
9:25 p.m. – Men’s 5,000m Final (Bruce)
9:51 p.m. – Men’s 4-x-400m Final (Schwartz, Janise, Ejiakuekwu, Igbokwe)
7:40 p.m. – Men’s Triple Jump (Pullen)
NCAA Day One Results
100 Meters Semifinals
10. Kenzo Cotton – 10.11
200 Meters Semifinals
12. Kenzo Cotton – 20.52
13. Josh Washington – 20.52
21. Roy Ejiakuekwu – 20.82
400 Meters Semifinals
20. Obi Igbokwe – 46.40
800 Meters Quarterfinals
13. Carlton Orange – 1:47.56
400 Meter Hurdles Semifinals
1. Kemar Mowatt – 48.64 Q
19. Travius Chambers – 52.74
4-x-100 Meter Relay Semifinals
8. Ejiakuekwu, Mowatt, Washington, Cotton – 38.79 Q
4-x-400 Meter Relay Semifinals
8. Schwartz, Janise, Ejiakuekwu, Igbokwe – 3:04.10 Q
Decathlon Day One
13. Gabe Moore – 3,970 points
16. 100m – 10.96 (870 pts.)
15. Long Jump – 23-3 1/4w (835)
5. Shot Put – 46-3 1/2 (735)
15. High Jump – 6-2 1/4 (705)
18. 400m – 49.78 (825)
16. Derek Jacobus – 3,918 points
12. 100m – 10.86 (892 pts.)
10. Long Jump – 24-0 1/4 (891)
18. Shot Put – 42-2 (658)
24. High Jump – 5-10 3/4 (627)
10. 400m – 49.23 (850)
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.