FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Down to his last triple jump attempt, Razorback Laquan Nairn generated a leap of 52 feet, 10 ¼ inches (16.11) to move from third to first place at the Tyson Invitational on Saturday.
The Arkansas distance crew, meanwhile, raced at the Husky Classic in Seattle, Washington, over the weekend and produced career best times in various distances. Leading the effort was Emmanuel Cheboson with a 13:41.90 in the 5,000m to place sixth. Cheboson moved to No. 6 on the Arkansas all-time list.
“I think it was a very productive weekend for our program,” stated Razorback men’s head coach Chris Bucknam. “I was very pleased with the results at Tyson along with the results at the Husky meet. It’s always tough to split your squad, but it was necessary for us to do.
“Not only was I pleased with the performances across the board, but also with how we competed. Laquan’s final jump to win the triple jump is an example of that along with Jeremy in the 400m on Friday. Other examples of strong competition for us were in the 4×400, Kristoffer in the 60m and our distance races in Washington.”
Nairn’s final round effort enabled him to surpass event leader Felix Obi of Nigeria, who led the field with a 52-7 ¼ (16.03) from the second round. Oklahoma’s Jelaani Davis finished third with a 52-0 ½ (15.86) leap which moved him from sixth to second place in the fifth stanza.
“It was a good competition overall,” said Nairn, who opened with a 51-11 ¼ (15.83) victory at the Arkansas Invitational in January. “Coach (Mario) Sategna and I came into the meet wanting to be mentally prepared for six jumps. I knew I had to stay consistent and be patient.
“It shows how positive our thoughts can be going into a situation where I was sitting in third place for most of the competition. It shows how hard we’re training and how everything is coming together. Coach and I wanted to get 16.10 or better and we had a 16.11 today.”
An exciting race in the 4×400 relay had the Razorbacks and North Carolina A&T battling through each leg and they were separated by a narrow margin at the finish. North Carolina A&T secured the victory in 3:04.12 with Arkansas runner-up at 3:04.81 while Iowa (3:06.76) and Baylor (3:07.72) were third and fourth.
Running for the Razorbacks were Lesley Mahlakoane (47.29), Jeremy Farr (45.44), Jalen Brown (46.62) and Hunter Woodhall (45.46). A second relay group for Arkansas placed fifth overall as they won their section in 3:09.48 with a foursome of Travean Caldwell (47.65), James Milholen (46.91), Tre’Bien Gilbert (47.65) and Nick Hilson (47.27).
Racing in the Invitational 200m, Tylin Jackson posted a time of 21.10 for third in his section and 10th overall. The winner of the event, LSU’s Terrance Laird, clocked a world-leading time of 20.43 with Georgia’s Matthew Boling runner-up in 20.66.
Luke George had a career best of 4:06.10 for ninth place in his section of the mile. In the 3,000m, Cameron Griffith neared his personal best with a 7:50.80 to place ninth.
Matt Young registered a career best of 13:49.12 to finish eighth in his 5,000m section, improving from a previous indoor best of 14:19.00, while Gilbert Boit ran 13:59.49. Other Razorbacks contesting the 5,000m included Preston Cates (14:36.57), Graham Brown (14:40.27), and Hayden Dressel (14:55.17).