Newport's Caleb Cross qualifies for two NCAA finals
EUGENE, Ore. (ArkansasRazorbacks.com) – The No. 2 University of Arkansas men's track and field team completed day one of the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships with a fourth-place finish from Andrew Irwin in the pole vault and five qualifiers for event finals. Through the first two events of the national meet, the Razorbacks are tied for seventh place with five points. Competition in Eugene, Ore., resumes Thursday at 1 p.m. (CT) with day two of the decathlon.
In his debut at the NCAA outdoor meet, Irwin turned in a fourth-place finish with a final clearance of 5.60m/18-4.5. He finished the competition with the same mark as Shawn Barber of Akron but finished fourth based on misses throughout the day. Irwin's five points represent the first score of the weekend for the Razorback men. During his collegiate season, the Mount Ida, Ark., native won his second NCAA indoor title and was a two-time SEC champion.
The Razorbacks' first qualifier of the day was in the 4x100-meter relay. The team of Caleb Cross, Jarrion Lawson, Akheem Gauntlett and Neil Braddy passed the baton around the track in a season-best time of 39.25 to secure an at-large berth into Saturday's final. With the exception of Braddy, three members of Arkansas' sprint relay are so entered in an individual event.
Cross and Gauntlett returned to the track to qualify for event finals in the 400-meter hurdles and at 400 meters, respectively. Cross was second in his heat and sixth overall with a time of 50.39 to secure a spot into the championship race. Gauntlett advanced to the final of the 400 meters by .004, claiming the final spot with his time of 45.70 in heat three. Lawson will return to the track Thursday for the long jump competition.
Arkansas' first individual qualifier of the day was Leoman Momoh. The Razorback senior was the top overall qualifier at 800 meters with a personal-best time of 1:47.44 to win heat one. In his race, Momoh replaced his previous best of 1:47.74 which he ran in May to win the SEC title. The team's fifth and final qualifier of the day was Stanley Kebenei in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. In his first NCAA outdoor appearance with Arkansas, he had a closing time of 8:36.54, the second-fastest time posted during the semifinal round.
Day one of the NCAA Championships also marked the beginning of the decathlon which included two Razorback entries. Kevin Lazas, in his third national appearance, is in scoring position with a seventh-place spot and 4,095 points after day one. The Razorback junior began his day with a personal-best time of 10.83 at 100 meters and followed with an all-conditions best of 7.58m/24-10.5 in the long jump. Lazas also tied his PR with a clearance of 1.99m/6-6.25 in the high jump.
Making his NCAA Championships debut, Nathanael Franks sits in 16th place after day one of the decathlon. Through the first five events of the day, the Damascus, Ore., native has 3,914 points. He was just off his personal best in the long jump with a wind-aided mark of 7.01m/23-2. In the final event of the day, Franks posted a lifetime best effort of 48.83 to finish fourth overall at 400 meters.
In addition to live results via Flash Results and an interactive blog, each day of the meet will be broadcast with coverage windows by Pac-12 Live, ESPN3.com, WatchESPN and ESPNU. For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas cross country and track and field through the team's sport-specific RazorbackTF Facebook and Twitter pages.