The Arkansas men’s and women’s track & field teams claimed the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships titles at the University of Arkansas’ Randal Tyson Track Center over the weekend.
The men’s team won its 24th SEC Indoor title and the women’s team won its seventh straight SEC Indoor title. The men’s team secured its victory without a single individual or relay win across the 17 events, which marks the first time in history that has happened.
The men’s team totaled 116 points by the end of the championships. Coach Chris Bucknam commended the team’s performance and what it meant for the program.
“I’m just so proud of this team and the coaches,” Bucknam said. “They did a phenomenal job. From way back in August to now it’s been really tough doing all the things we had to do. But they got into a flow, listened to their coaches, and we just had a great meet. It’s a great victory for our program.”
The top finisher for the men’s team was redshirt senior Amon Kemboi, who scored 14 points and earned a silver medal with a time of 3:58.56 in the mile and earned a bronze medal with a time of 8:04.63 in the 3,000m. Kemboi also surpassed the UofA’s mile-meet record of 3:59.4, set in 1976.
The Razorbacks were able to secure the SEC Indoor Championship title during the 3,000m, scoring 12 points. Junior Jacob McLeod, redshirt senior Gilbert Boit and redshirt junior Ryan Murphy were notable distance runners in the 3,000m placing sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
21 points were awarded to Arkansas during the sprint and hurdle events. Junior Tre’Bien Gilbert set a career best of 7.70 during the 60 hurdles, finishing third, right before sophomore Phillip Lemonious, who placed fourth with a score of 7.71.
Arkansas finished the meet with the 4x400 relay, earning fifth place with a time of 3:05.07. The relay consisted of sprints from redshirt senior Jalen Brown, redshirt senior Rhayko Schwartz, junior James Milholen and redshirt freshman Jadon Bartholomew.
“We scored big points from the heptathlon to the 5,000,” Bucknam said. “We had great races in between that, whether it was the hurdles or the 60 dash, mile and 3k. Our jumpers did a phenomenal job. Overall, it was a team victory across the board. Now it’s on to nationals.”
The SEC Indoor Championships were also a huge success for the women’s team. The Razorbacks totated 141 points to help them claim the victory shortly after the men’s team. This is the second-highest winning score they have had during the SEC Indoor Championships.
“It takes a village and it was very much a combined effort,” Arkansas women’s head coach Lance Harter said. “Our combined effort is a pretty formidable foe, to say the least, as a team. What we’re super excited about is that we were able to get through it relatively happy.”
Senior Krissy Gear kicked off the final day of the meet by winning the SEC Indoor mile with a time of 4:34.72. Razorbacks who placed in the top 10 alongside Gear included redshirt junior Lauren Gregory, sophomore Isabel Van Camp, junior Gracie Hyde and redshirt senior Kennedy Thomson, placing third, fifth, seventh and ninth, respectively. The women’s mile gained 22 points for the Razorbacks.
The day ended with a school record by the 4x400 relay team, making Arkansas the sixth-fastest school for this event in collegiate history. The team ran a time of 3:28.50, earning first place with sprints from redshirt senior Shafiqua Maloney, redshirt junior Kethlin Campbell, junior Paris Peoples and sophomore Rosey Effiong.
“That’s not our A-team in the relay,” Harter said. “Because of the tight schedule, Coach Johnson had to be creative. Every one of them rose to the challenge. To knock off our school record, which is a special time, I’m super excited because the kids just did a fantastic job of rising.”
The Razorbacks had some great breakthrough performances, and Harter said he decided to add more individuals to the national lineup. He said he is excited to return in two weeks and see what the NCAA has to offer.
Both Arkansas track & field teams will spend the next two weeks preparing for the NCAA Championships on March 11-13 at the Randal Tyson Track Center at the University of Arkansas.