FAYETTEVILLE – The Razorbacks enjoyed some solid performances Friday in the Arkansas Invitational as they returned from their winter break to continue the indoor track and field season at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
Arkansas totaled five victories and turned in the top collegiate performance in two other events in hosting the 12-team meet. In addition, the Razorbacks displayed depth in some of those wins.
“I was happy with how our guys approached the meet today,” said Arkansas men’s head coach Chris Bucknam. “We’ve been working hard since the end of December. The first meet back is always the toughest one, jumping into the deep end of the pool and competing.
“We got some good things accomplished. The general attitude of the team I’m really pleased with right now. We have a lot left in the tank and have a lot more things to show.”
Freshman Brandon Battle sped to a career best of 46.59 in claiming the 400m, producing the second fastest time in the world at the early stage of the 2022 season. Currently he only trails a 45.37 set by North Carolina A&T’s Randolph Ross earlier in the day at Clemson.
“I’m trusting the training and what coach has done for us, especially in coming back from the break,” Battle stated. “I trust coach and I trust the process.
“There are still some things I can fix in the race. It’s an opener and its January, so it was a good time, but I’m not satisfied at the end of the day.”
Topping the field by nearly a full second with the runner-up time at 47.56, Battle bettered his indoor best of 47.88 and was within a tenth of a second of his outdoor best of 46.48. Teammate Rhayko Schwartz placed third in 47.90 while newcomer Devontie Archer, competing unattached, finished fourth in 47.92.
“Brandon is going to be a star, and is an extremely hard worker,” noted Bucknam.
Battle later ran on the winning 4×400 relay, producing a split of 46.25 on the second leg, as the Razorbacks posted a time of 3:10.59. Other splits included Connor Washington (48.78), TJ Tomlyvanovich (47.80) and Boaz Madeus (47.76).
“It was a lot of fun, I love running on the 4×400,” said Battle. “It’s one of my favorite events in track and field. It’s good to run with my teammates, we’ve been training hard since August.”
Victories also included a career best of 21.11 for Jeremy Farr in the 200, a leap of 51-3 ½ (15.63) in the triple jump by Ryan Brown, a 2:22.46 career best by Andrew Kibet at 1,000m, a 1:18.36 PR for Jadon Bartholomew in the 600m.
Finishing as the top collegian were Brevin Sims in the 60m hurdles and Etamar Bhastekar in the pole vault.
Kibet led a 1-2-3 finish by Arkansas in the 1,000m. He was followed by Elias Schreml, who set a career best of 2:23.80, and Kieran Taylor, who equaled his PR of 2:23.98.
Farr defeated a field of 49 sprinters in the 200m, claiming the 16th section of the event over Antone Evans of Coffeyville CC (21.45) and bettering the leading time of 21.36 turned in by Morgan Jamison.
Bartholomew had a near one-second gap in winning the 600m while Tomlyanovich finished third in 1:19.85. Ricardo Banks challenged for the win at 800m, clocking an indoor PR of 1:52.77 behind a 1:52.34 for Triston Read of Oklahoma State.
Arkansas alum Andrew Irwin won the pole vault at 17-6.5 (5.35) with Bhastekar runner-up with a clearance of 16-8.75 (5.10). Rhett Nelson cleared 15-9 (4.80) to place third while Owens finished fifth at 15-9 based on misses.
Erich Sullins, another Razorback alum competing, broke his meet record in the weight throw with a toss of 73-7.5 (22.44).
Sims ran 7.89 to better his previous best of 7.93 as runner-up in the 60m hurdles to a 7.87 by Louis Rollins. Teammate Shaka Bogan finished fourth in 8.11. During the prelims, Ayden Owens bettered the field with a 7.92 while Phillip Lemonious won his heat in 7.96, but neither contested the final.
Racing in the mile, newcomer Patrick Kiprop led a trio of Razorbacks who placed 8-9-10. Kiprop clocked 4:12.02 while Myles Richter finished in 4:12.06 and Josh Shearer had a 4:13.27.
Adam Clark tied for third in the high jump, clearing 6-8.75 (2.05) while teammate Christian Matamoras finished fifth at 6-6.75 (2.00). John Baker followed Brown in the triple jump, placing third with a 48-3.25 (14.71) leap.
Roman Turner ran 6.74 to place fourth in the 60m while Washington set a career best of 6.81 in placing sixth, bettering his pervious PR of 6.85. Turner claimed his prelim heat in 6.76 while Washington won his heat in 6.86.