Arkansas depth secures 24th SEC Indoor Championship


FAYETTEVILLE, Arche. – Pretend it’s 24e SEC Indoor Championship Among the 30 contested since Arkansas joined the league, the Razorbacks have won the title with a very rare feat.

Arkansas showed the importance of its depth in securing the team title without an individual or relay title among the 17 indoor events. This is the first time in the history of SEC Indoor, which dates back to 1957, for a team to accomplish a championship in this way.

“I’m so proud of this team and the coaches,” said Arkansas men’s coach Chris Bucknam. “They did a phenomenal job. From the beginning of August until now, it has been very difficult to do everything that we need to do. But they went into a flow, listened to their coaches, and we just had a great meeting. It’s a great victory for our program.

Arkansas totaled 116 points for the win, scoring in all events except three – 200m, high jump and shot put.

The Razorbacks also completed their third consecutive title streak since 2013, when the conference expanded to its current setup. All title years include 2013 and 2014, 2016 and 2017, as well as 2020 and 2021.

“It shows our depth, but also shows how tough this conference is and great athletes at all levels,” Bucknam said of winning a team title without an individual or relay title. “It’s difficult to compete in this league and besides winning.

“We put the training together to score points. We might not have hit home runs, but we got a lot of doubles, triples and singles. Our base percentage was pretty good at the end of the day because we ended up winning the competition.

LSU (93), Alabama (72), Ole Miss (70.5), Florida (57), Tennessee (50), Kentucky (47), Auburn (45), Texas A&M (44.5), Georgia (31) , South Carolina (16), Missouri (15) and State of Mississippi (5).

“We scored some big heptathlon points in the 5,000,” said Bucknam. “We’ve had some great races between that, whether it’s the hurdles or the 60 dash, mile and 3k. Our jumpers did a phenomenal job. Overall it was a team victory at all levels. Now it’s up to the nationals.

Amon Kemboi led the Razorbacks with 14 points with a silver in the mile (3: 58.56) and a bronze in the 3000m (8: 04.63).

Kemboi and Ole Miss’s mile winner Waleed Suliman (3: 58.28) both improved the competition record of 3: 59.4 that was broken in 1976. Andrew Kibet scored points for the Arkansas finishing sixth (4: 03.49).

In the 3000m, Kemboi finished behind Mario Garcia Romo of Ole Miss (8: 03.99) and Eliud Kipsang of Alabama (8: 04.27).

The Razorbacks scored 12 points in the race, securing the tag team title. Jacob McLeod (8: 06.15), Gilbert Boit (8: 06.23) and Ryan Murphy (8: 08.18), who finished 6-7-8, provided the extra points in the 3,000m.

The sprint and hurdles events added 21 points. In the 60 hurdles, Tre’Bien Gilbert and Phillip Lemonious finished third and fourth behind a pair of LSU hurdles. Gilbert set a career record of 7.70, improving his No. 5 position on the UA all-time list, while Lemonious achieved 7.17.

Kristoffer Hari (6.77) and Roman Turner (6.78) finished third and sixth in the 60 while James Milholen (47.63) finished eighth in the 400.

Five more points were added to the tally when Kieran Taylor was fourth in the 800 with a time of 1: 50.44.

The field event’s points included three points in the pole vault with Etamar Bhastekar sixth at 16-10 (5.15) and Rhett Nelson seventh at 16-6 (5.05), while Ryan Brown added a run in the triple jump with a 51-7 (15.73) jump for eighth place. John Baker was ninth with a 51-0 (15.55).

Arkansas closed the competition with a fifth place finish in the 4 × 400 relay, posting a time of 3: 05.07 with a quartet of Jadon Bartholomew (48.32), Jalen Brown (45.53), James Milholen (45.13 ) and Rhayko Schwartz (46.09).