Omar McLeod

courtesy arkansasrazorbacks.com 

The Arkansas men’s and women’s track and field teams each won the Arkansas Invitational in dominating fashion.

The men won by 76 points, while the women won by 86.

Highlighting the day for the men’s team were freshman Omar McLeod’s performances in the 60 meter dash and 60 meter hurdles.

In his first collegiate race, McLeod won the 60 meter hurdles by a large margin over teammate and fellow freshman Larry Donald.

Despite having only the fourth-fastest qualifying time in the preliminaries of the 60 meter dash, he finished with a time of 6.73 seconds in the finals to claim the victory.

McLeod was also the first leg of Arkansas’ 4x400 meter relay team that took first place and finished 1.05 seconds ahead of a team that featured four former collegiate All-Americans, three of which were former Razorbacks.

“With his racing today, Omar showed what kind of athlete he is,” head coach Chris Bucknam said. “He was phenomenal.”

One of the former Razorbacks was Wallace Spearmon, Jr., who was a three-time National Champion at Arkansas. He also ran in the 200 meter dash, where he won with a time of 20.68 seconds. That is the fastest time in the world in 2014, so far.

“He’s a champion, there’s no question about that,” Bucknam said. “It’s good to have him around the facility.”

Arkansas had contributions from five of its athletes that helped win the Indoor National Championship last season, as well.

Two-time indoor National Champion Andrew Irwin won the pole vault in his first competition since suffering a “semi-serious injury” last summer with a height of 16-6.75, Bucknam said.

“He’s not nearly in top form,” Bucknam said. “He’s got a ways to go, but he’s a great competitor and it was good to see him vaulting again.”

The Razorbacks flexed their muscle in the middle- and long-distances races, with Patrick Rono, Kemoy Campbell and Stanley Kebenei winning the 600 meter, 800 meter and 1,000 meter races outright, respectively, and Tomas Squella finishing as the top collegiate runner in the 400 meter.

Tulsa’s men came in second with 65 points, while Southeast Missouri was the only other collegiate team that competed and finished with 12 points.

The women’s team also got a surprise contribution from a freshman.

In Regine Williams’ first collegiate race, she won the 60 meter dash with time of 7.43 seconds. She followed that up with a victory in the 200 meter dash, finishing in 23.37 seconds, the fastest in the NCAA this season.

“We knew she was a great talent, but what she did today was far beyond our expectations,” head coach Lance Harter said. “It’s probably the tip of the iceberg of what we have to see from her. She is truly special.”

She came up only three-quarters of an inch short of tying teammate and junior Tamara Myers in the long jump, as well.

Myers, who finished fourth in the triple jump at the Indoor National Championships last season, was the top collegiate finisher in the long jump at the Arkansas Invitational, jumping a distance of 16-5.5.

The Razorbacks also got solid contributions from junior Dominique Scott and senior Stephanie Brown, who finished first in the 800 meter and 1,000 meter, respectively.

The 1,000 meter run is not a normal NCAA race, but Brown said she felt it was a good starting point for the season.

“It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to run, but it’s good to knock off some rust and get out there on the track again,” Brown said.

Missouri State finished second with 50 points. The only other team to compete, Tulsa, came in third with 41 points.

Both teams return to action Friday with a dual meet against Texas at the Tyson Track Center.

 

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