FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 12 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team completed day one of the Tyson Invitational with three top-five performances, including wins in the college and invitational 800 meters from Dey Tuach and Leoman Momoh, respectively. Tarik Batchelor capped the day with a bronze finish in the invitational long jump.
"This is the first time we’re really taking the reins off and opening them up a little bit," assistant coach Travis Geopfert said. "Everybody competed really well with personal bests and near personal bests. I think it’s become well known that this is the fastest track and you can just see the energy out there, especially in the sprints. This is also a great place to jump. Dey was just rolling in the half mile and looked near unstoppable over the last 200 meters. That energy really feeds the athletes and makes this an unbelievable place to compete."
To kick off the evening session, Tuach won the invitational section of the 800 meters in a time of 1:48.08, the No. 2 time in the nation, the 11th best in the world and just off an NCAA automatic qualifier. He is now the seventh-fastest performer in school history. Tuach paced a 1-6-8 finish for the Razorbacks with Omar Abdi (1:50.46) and Chris Bilbrew (1:51.73) rounding out the group, respectively.
In the hotly contested invitational section of the long jump, Batchelor came away with a third-place showing. On his fifth jump of the competition, he went out to a distance of 26-1, his second-best mark of the season and his second NCAA automatic qualifier in the event this season. Raymond Higgs had a seventh-place finish with a jump of 25-6, a season best. Arkansas signee Anthony May II won the college section of the long jump with a mark of 24-10. May is currently a sophomore at South Plains Junior College.
The Razorbacks picked up two top-10 results in the 400 meters, the day’s first event. Marek Niit finished in seventh place with a personal-best time of 46.67 and Ben Skidmore had a 10th-place showing in 47.14, also a personal best. With a late surge, Travis Southard clocked in at 47.88 to win his heat and finish 19th overall. Neill Braddy rounded out Arkansas’ top four with a 25th-place finish in a time of 48.03.
Momoh turned in a first-place performance for Arkansas in the college section of the 800 meters. Running in the first heat of the event, he won and posted the time to beat with a 1:52.49, a personal-best mark. Jordan Bryant was 13th in the event in a time of 1:56.02. Scott Gillespie ran to a third-place showing in the college section of the mile. He had a time of 4:10.89 while Rick Elliott crossed in a time of 4:15.42, good for 11th place.
LaShawn Butler ran to a time of 6.84 in the preliminary heats of the 60 meters and advanced to the semifinal round of the event. Maudrecus Humphrey had a time of 6.99 but did not advance past the prelims. In the semifinals, Butler clocked a time of 6.87 in the third heat but did not qualify for the finals
In the preliminary heats of the 60-meter hurdles, Andrew Pennington clinched the last spot in the semifinals with a time of 8.31. A mid-race stumble by Caleb Cross cost the Razorback sophomore a trip to the next round. He was the first runner left out, clocking in at 8.33. Arkansas’ multi-event specialists Terry Prentice, Matt Kirbos and Kevin Lazas also competed. Pennington clocked a personal-best 8.23 in heat one of the semifinals but did not qualify for the finals.
Competing at Walker Pavilion in the weight throw, Justin Holmes finished in eighth place with a day’s best of 55-9.25. His mark is a personal best by just under three feet.
Arkansas returns to the track Saturday for the final day of the Tyson Invitational. Field events begin at noon (CT) while running events get under way at 1 p.m. Follow the action via live stats, video stream and interactive blog at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: Tyson Results, Day 1.pdf