Arkansas men's track takes lead at SEC Outdoor meet after Pinnock completes 3-peat | Whole Hog Sports (2024)

Going into this weekend’s SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships, three athletes had won three consecutive long jump titles since the meet first was held in 1933.

University of Arkansas junior Wayne Pinnock made it four Friday.

Pinnock went 26 feet, 6 1/2 inches at Florida’s Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, Fla., to win his third SEC outdoor title in a row. He won last year’s title (27-5 1/2) in his first season at Arkansas and won as a Tennessee freshman in 2022 (26-0 1/2).

“It’s about experience and staying calm, executing,” Pinnock said. “It’s a mindset of a champion. I just know what it takes to win.

“I went out there and did my thing and came out victorious.”

The Razorbacks took the team lead through 8 of 21 finals scored with 55 points. They won three events Friday.

Arkansas seniors Romaine Beckford won the high jump and Jack Turner won the decathlon.

Florida is second behind the Razorbacks with 38 points.

Pinnock became the third Razorback to win three consecutive SEC long jump titles outdoors along with Erick Walder (1992-94) and Alain Bailey (2008-10).

LSU’s Billy Brown also won three SEC long jump titles in a row (1939-41).

“I’m very grateful,” Pinnock said.

It was the fourth overall SEC title for Pinnock, who won conference and NCAA indoors earlier this year.

“It just shows you how special Wayne is,” Arkansas Coach Chris Bucknam said. “What a generational type of talent he is in the long jump and in an event that for Arkansas has been so elite with [former] Coach [Dick] Booth and now with Coach [Travis] Geopfert.

“Wayne is up there with all the great long jumpers we’ve had at Arkansas. I’m really proud of him and happy for him.”

Beckford, a senior transfer from South Florida, cleared 7-3 1/4 to become the first Razorback to win the SEC high jump title outdoors since Bailey in 2009. Beckford also won the SEC and NCAA indoor titles. He is the first high jumper to sweep SEC titles indoors and outdoors since LSU’s JuVaughn Harrison in 2021.

“I love Romaine’s consistency,” Bucknam said. “It’s a reflection of how he approaches his training and his practices. His attention to detail.”

Turner, a transfer from Texas-San Antonio, scored 7,935 points and became the first Razorback to win the SEC decathlon title since Kevin Lazas in 2012.

Turner and senior Yariel Soto Torrado gave the Razorbacks a 1-2 finish in the decathlon.

“Our guys did a great job in the decathlon,” Bucknam said. “Those are big points.”

Turner had the leading discus throw at 144-4. His other marks included 14.51 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles, 15-1 in the pole vault, 166-6 in the javelin and 4:49.53 in the 1,500.

Soto Torrado had the top pole vault mark at 15-9, threw the javelin 180-10 and discus 127-10 and ran the 110 hurdles in 15.40 and 1,500 in 4:30.10.

Arkansas junior Kason O’Riley cleared 6-10 1/4 to tie for fifth in the high jump.

Advancing for the Razorbacks in preliminary races were senior Lance Lang in the 100 (10.16), senior Elijah Morris (13.56) and junior William Spencer (13.81) in the 110 hurdles, and senior James Benson in the 400 (45.26).

Lang also is in the 200 final and Spencer in the 110 hurdles final.

“I’m really happy with Coach [Doug] Case’s group,” Bucknam said of the sprinters and hurdles. “I can’t remember the last time that we had finalists at the SEC meet in the 100, 200, 400, 110 hurdles and 400 hurdles.

“Those events are probably the biggest gauntlet of the meet. So hats off to our sprint group. They’ve got a heavy load [Saturday]. We’re going to count on them.”

Bucknam said Lang also is scheduled to run on the 400 and 1,600 relays.

“He’s going to have a busy day,” Bucknam said. “We’ll see what happens, see how he feels.”

Arkansas fifth-year senior Tai Brown had been projected to make the final in the 110 hurdles, but he fell.

“Tai came down wrong on his foot on the third hurdle, and it looks like he broke an ankle,” Bucknam said. “That was a tough blow. We just feel terrible for him that happened.”

The meet will conclude Saturday night and be televised on the SEC Network beginning at 5 p.m. Central.

Bucknam said he thinks it will be a four-team race between Arkansas, Florida, Texas A&M and Alabama.

“It’s going to be real close,” Bucknam said. “Hopefully we’re in it at the end.”

Arkansas’ women’s team got third-place finishes Friday from senior Marin Chamberlin in the pole vault (13-11 1/4), junior Nia Robinson in the long jump (21-2) and senior Laura Taborda in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:52.99).

Senior Sara Van Aken in the heptathlon (4.998 points) and redshirt freshman Mackenzie Rogers in the steeplechase (10.24.96) had seventh-place finishes for the Razorbacks.

Texas A&M leads the women’s team race with 45 points. Arkansas is fifth with 31 points.

Four Razorbacks advanced to the 400 final: senior Nickisha Pryce (49.72), freshman Kaylyn Brown (49.86) and seniors Amber Anning (51.13) and Rosey Effiong (51.04).

Pryce’s time leads the world this season and ranks No. 5 on the all-time collegiate list. Brown’s time ranks No. 2 in the world this season and Anning’s ranks No. 4.

Arkansas is the first women’s program to have three runners go under 50 seconds in the 400 all-time, led by former Razorback Britton Wilson's collegiate record 49.13 last year.

Redshirt freshman Mia Cochran (4:20.59), sophom*ore Mary Ellen Eudaly (4:23.66) and junior Tiana LoStracco (4:25.31) advanced for Arkansas in the 1,500. Senior Destiny Huven advanced in the 100 hurdles (13.03).

Arkansas men's track takes lead at SEC Outdoor meet after Pinnock completes 3-peat | Whole Hog Sports (2024)
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