ATHENS, Ga. – Kevin Lazas leads a trio of Razorback decathletes after day one of the 2011 SEC Outdoor Championships at the Spec Towns Track in Athens, Ga. After five events, Lazas is in fourth place with 3,934 points, 188 points behind leader Michael Ayers of Georgia. Teammates Terry Prentice with 3,882 points and Matt Kirbos with 3,567 points are in seventh and 10th place, respectively.
"Our guys did a great job today," assistant and decathlon coach Travis Geopfert said. "There was a little controversy to start off in the 100 meters and it was a bit of a rough start for a lot of people but Kevin kept his cool and ran just off his personal best. All three of our guys high jumped well and Terry had a huge PR which was awesome to see. That’s what the decathlon is about. It’s one collective event and no matter what happens you have to keep battling through."
Lazas was in fourth place after the first event of the day after clocking a 10.94 in the 100 meters, good for 874 points. The time is the fastest legal mark of his young career; he ran 10.93 in strong winds last month at the John McDonnell Invitational. Kirbos and Prentice were ninth and 11th, respectively, after the 100 meters. Kirbos crossed in 11.29, good for 797 points, while Prentice finished with a time of 11.37, good for 780 points.
Prentice led a 4-5-6 finish for the Razorbacks in the decathlon long jump. The Razorback junior climbed from 10th to sixth after getting out to a 23-6.75 mark (857 points) on his first attempt of the day. Lazas remained in fourth place with a jump of 23-4.5 (842) on his only legal mark of the competition. Kirbos posted a personal-best 22-9.75 (802) to move up one spot from ninth to eighth.
There was little change in the standings for the Razorbacks after the shot put. With the exception of Prentice dropping one spot to seventh overall, Arkansas maintained its fourth and eighth positions with Lazas and Kirbos.
The Razorbacks made their move with a strong high jump in which all three set personal outdoor bests. Prentice won the event and was the last competitor jumping after a clearance of 6-9, worth 859 points. His previous best of 6-5.5 came last year at the SEC Championships in Knoxville. Along with his teammate, Lazas was one of the final three jumpers left in the competition and finished with a clearance of 6-5.5 and 776 points. Kirbos added just over an inch to his personal best, getting over the bar set at 6-2.
In the final event of the day, Prentice was the team’s top performer with a 50.73 showing. He finished third in the second heat and eighth overall. He was followed by Lazas who crossed the line in a personal-best time of 51.21. Kirbos rounded out the Razorbacks with a time of 52.77, good for this third personal best of the day.
"We’re in a great, great position for tomorrow," Geopfert said. "Anywhere from first through sixth is totally wide open so we’ve got to come ready to perform well and grab those spots."
Competition for the Razorbacks on day two of the SEC championships begins at 11:30 a.m. (CT) with the conclusion of the decathlon. In addition to the decathlon, points will be up for grabs in the 10,000 meters. The preliminary rounds of the running events also begin Friday with the 200 meters, 800 meters and 400-meter hurdles.
For live results and interactive blog, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com. In addition to meet coverage at the Razorbacks’ website, the conference meet will be streamed live at ESPN3.com Saturday from 3-5:30 p.m. (CT) and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. A tape-delay broadcast of the SEC Championships will be aired May 25 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU.