FAYETTEVILLE – On day one of the Tyson Invitational, the No. 1 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team collected one event win, a national leader and a handful of season bests. Akheem Gauntlett paced the Razorbacks at 400 meters with an NCAA-leading time of 46.23 while Lane Boyer ran to a victory in the 5,000 meters. Among other highlights, Caleb Cross qualified for Saturday’s final in the 60-meter hurdles.
"It was a good first day for us," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "I’m really proud of the way we competed today. We had some standout performances in the 400 meters with the three fastest times in the country right now. It really speaks to how hard all of our guys have been working and they’re starting to see the results."
The Razorbacks posted the top-three collegiate finishes in the 400 meters. Gauntlett won his heat and finished second overall in a personal-best effort of 46.23, the fastest time in the NCAA this season. Gauntlett is also the current NCAA leader at 200 meters with his time of 20.82 from the Razorback Invitational in January. He was followed by Marek Niit and Neil Braddy, respectively, who both crossed in a time of 46.28.
Each time-Niit finished .001 ahead of Braddy-is a season best and represents the second- and third-fastest times in the nation. Ben Skidmore rounded out the top-10 finishes with a time of 46.83, good for ninth place overall.
Running in the preliminary heats of the 60-meter hurdles, Cross advanced to the semifinal round. The Razorback junior finished in a time of 7.81 to finish in second place in his individual heat and fifth overall. In the semifinals, he established a season-best time of 7.80 to finish in fifth place to qualify for Saturday’s final. The finals of the 60-meter hurdles will be run tomorrow at 6:55 p.m. (CT) during the USA Track & Field Classic.
Arkansas’ first event win of the day came from Boyer in the championship section of the 5,000 meters. Running from the front, he posted a time of 14:15.81 to finish nearly 13 seconds clear of his nearest competitor. The Razorbacks came away with three of the top-four spots with Michael Chinchar (14:45.78) and Aaron Hamilton (15:04.93) in third and fourth, respectively.
Rick Elliott opened running events on the track with a runner-up finish in the college section of the mile. He finished second overall and was the top collegiate performer in the race with a personal-best time of 4:04.71, more than three seconds faster than his previous best. Cameron Efurd also turned in a personal-best showing with a time of 4:19.12.
In addition to the Tyson Invitational, Northwest Arkansas will host the USA Track & Field Classic tomorrow, beginning at 5 p.m. (CT) at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The meet will include a 10-event professional lineup and a field of the world’s best track and field stars that have combined to win 21 Olympic medals and 60 World Championship medals. Former Arkansas standouts Wallace Spearmon and Veronica Campbell-Brown are scheduled to compete Saturday.
Day two of the Tyson Invitational is set to begin Saturday at 10 a.m. with the men’s collegiate pole vault. Running events begin at 10:30 a.m. For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Tyson Invitational – Day 1 Results60M (prelims)54. Matt Kirbos – 7.23 (SB)
400M2. Akheem Gauntlett – 46.23 (PR)3. Marek Niit – 46.28 (SB)4. Neil Braddy – 46.28 (SB)9. Ben Skidmore – 46.8318. Travis Southard – 47.64 (SB)31. Nathanael Franks – 48.5646. Hunter Bourke – 49.20 (SB)67. Gunnar Nixon – 54.75
5,000M (championship)1. Lane Boyer – 14:15.813. Michael Chinchar – 14:45.784. Aaron Hamilton – 15:04.93
60mH (semifinals)5. Caleb Cross – 7.80q (SB)
60mH (prelims)5. Caleb Cross – 7.81q22. Gunnar Nixon – 8.2622. Kyle Dunn – 8.2625. Andrew Pennington – 8.2830. Terry Prentice – 8.4233. Kevin Lazas – 8.5135. Matt Kirbos – 8.60 (SB)39. Nathanael Franks – 8.78 (PR)
Mile (college)2. Rick Elliott – 4:04.71 (PR)22. Cameron Efurd – 4:19.12 (PR)
Long Jump (championship)7. Nii Ayi – 7.33m/24-0.75
Long Jump (college)6. Auston Chen – 7.14m/23-5.25
Download: Day 1 Results – Tyson Invitational.pdf