WALNUT, California – Arkansas travels to Southern California this week to participate in a pair of meets, the Mt. San Antonio College Relays as well as the Bryan Clay Invitational hosted by Azusa Pacific.
Action begins Wednesday for the Razorback decathletes while distance races take place each evening through Friday. On Friday and Saturday, the Mt. SAC Relays will feature sprints, hurdles, and relays for Arkansas.
“As a coaching staff we are looking forward to getting our kids out there and getting some great competition while getting some reps in,” said Arkansas men’s head coach Chris Bucknam. “That’s what the meet last weekend was for, and we didn’t get them, especially with our shorter ballistic events. Hopefully we can get some work done and some confidence built.
“We lost out on some events last week due to weather conditions. There is a little bit sense of urgency now since we are at the midpoint of the outdoor season. We don’t have a lot of marks out there yet, but we’re not hitting the panic button.”
Representing Arkansas in the decathlon on Wednesday and Thursday are Ayden Owens, the 2022 NCAA Indoor heptathlon champion, Daniel Spejcher and Noah Swaby.
The 15-man field includes a pair of post-collegians. Solomon Simmons, who sports a career best of 8,227, placed eighth at the 2019 World Championships and finished eighth in the 2021 Olympic Trials. Jack Flood scored a career best of 8,038 last season and then had a tally of 8,036 to place ninth in the Olympic Trials.
Owens, the 2021 NCAA decathlon silver medalist with a score of 8,114 points, has a career best of 8,238 points from winning the 2021 Big 10 title while with Michigan.
Swaby finished 13th in the NCAA decathlon last season while at Penn State and produced a career best of 7,517 earlier in the 2021 season. Spejcher has a career best of 7,707 from 2021 and he earned a bronze medal for the Razorbacks in the SEC Championships.
“They look good and have been training well,” Bucknam said of the Hog decathletes. “They’ve got a good group of guys training together. It’s great to see that group together and how well mesh. They’re excited about competing this week.”
Also competing at Mt. SAC on the first two days for Arkansas are Carter Persyn in the 3,000m steeplechase on Wednesday evening while Amon Kemboi competes in the 10,000m Elite Invitational on Thursday evening.
Kemboi will face a field that includes runners from Boise State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Portland, Stanford, Texas, and UTEP.
At Azusa Pacific on Thursday evening a crew of Razorbacks will contest various sections of the 5,000m. The group includes Patrick Kiprop and Emmanuel Cheboson in the Invitational division, along with Jacob McLeod, Myles Richter, Josh Shearer, and Ryan Murphy.
Competing in the 1,500m on Friday evening at the Bryan Clay Invitational are Elias Schreml, Andrew Kibet, Luke George, and Tommy Romanow.