FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 3 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team matched its preseason rank with three event wins Friday afternoon at the season-opening Arkansas Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center. Kenzo Cotton, Jamarco Stephen and Cameron Griffith all raced to victories while Obi Igbokwe posted a nation-leading time at 200 meters.
“Performances aside, being in the right frame of mind is most important to us right now,” head coach Chris Bucknam said. “When you do talk about the performances, you have to talk about Kenzo in the 60 (meters) and Gabe Moore with what he’s doing to get ready for the heptathlon.
“Then there’s Cameron, Jack and all those guys racing down at 1,000 (meters) for their first race on the track after a tough week of work. Obi ran a great race. It’s only Jan. 12 and we had some fast times today.”
2018 Arkansas Invitational Event Champions
Kenzo Cotton – 60m
Jamarco Stephen – 600m
Cameron Griffith – 1,000m
Paced by Cotton’s winning performance at 60 meters, the Razorbacks placed five inside the top 12 including four top-10 efforts. Racing against former teammates Jarrion Lawson and Marqueze Washington, Cotton pulled away and crossed the finish line in a time of 6.63 which is the No. 2 time in the NCAA based on marks entering the weekend. In his second race of the day, Obi Igbokwe was the top collegian and third overall at 200 meters in an NCAA-leading time of 20.78.
Arkansas swept the top three spots and secured seven of the top 10 at 1,000 meters. Griffith posted a first-place time of 2:23.21 and was followed across the line by teammates Jack Bruce and Ethan Moehn, respectively. The Razorbacks’ first win of the day—and season—was another mid-distance top performance by Stephen in 1:19.43 at 600 meters.
In preparation for upcoming heptathlons this indoor season, Gabe Moore competed in three events and responded with a personal-best effort in the 60-meter hurdles. He crossed in a time of 8.16, lowering his previous best of 8.41 from last year’s Razorback Invitational. In addition to the shot put, Moore also posted a 4.60m/15-1 clearance in the pole vault.
Senior standout Kemar Mowatt, named to The Bowerman Preseason Watch List earlier this week, opened his campaign as the top collegiate performer in the 60-meter hurdles. He clocked a time of 8.08 in the event and returned to the track with a top-10 effort at 200 meters. Mowatt is the defending SEC champion and NCAA bronze medalist in the 400-meter hurdles, his signature event during the outdoor season.
“I’m very pleased,” Bucknam said. “Everything felt good with our guys and their body language and the way they prepared yesterday and today. These early meets can be dangerous. Some of these guys, Kenzo for example, haven’t competed since last year’s (NCAA) outdoor meet or the USA Championships. I’m really proud of the way they prepared themselves for today.”
Bucknam and his Razorbacks hit the road next weekend for the Simmons-Harvey Quad in Ann Arbor, Mich., against Ohio State, Michigan State and host Michigan. Arkansas returns to its home track Jan. 26-27 for the Razorback Invitational.
January 12, 2018
Randal Tyson Track Center (Fayetteville, Ark.)
1. Kenzo Cotton – 6.63
5. Roy Ejiakuekwu – 6.75
7. Rhayko Schwartz – 6.83 [PR – previous: 6.93]
9. Harrison Schrage – 6.89 [PR – previous: 6.95]
12. Obi Igbokwe – 6.93
3. Obi Igbokwe – 20.78 [PR – previous: 20.87] *top collegian
5. Rhayko Schwartz – 21.29
7. Kemar Mowatt – 21.44
8. Hunter Woodhall – 49.21
1. Jamarco Stephen – 1:19.43
4. John Winn – 1: 20.66
3. Chase Pareti – 1:53.04
5. Travius Chambers – 1:57.72
1. Cameron Griffith – 2:23.21
2. Jack Bruce – 2:25.41
3. Ethan Moehn – 2:25.46
5. Kyle Hosting – 2:29.13
5. Kieran Taylor – 2:29.13
8. Kyle Levermore – 2:29.80
10. Colin O’Mara – 2:33.00
9. Graham Brown – 4:16.23
4. Kemar Mowatt – 8.08 *top collegian
5. Gabe Moore – 8.16 [PR – previous: 8.41]
8. Travius Chambers – 8.26
2. Brendon Rivera – 2.00m/6-6.75
7. Gabe Moore – 4.60m/15-1
10. Brandon Stokes – 4.30m/14-1.25
2. Laquan Nairn – 15.52m/50-11 *top collegian
3. Rubin Owens – 15.43m/50-7.5
2. Sam Kempka – 16.45m/53-11.75 *top collegian
3. Jeff Rogers – 15.85m/52-0
6. Gabe Moore – 13.43m/44-0.74
2. Erich Sullins – 19.10m/62-8
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.