Jack Turner leads heptathlon sweep with 6,000 points

FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas transfer Jack Turner led a 1-2-3-4 Hog finish in the heptathlon on the second day of the Razorback Invitational as he improved his career best to a score of 6,000 points at Randal Tyson Track Center.

Turner set the collegiate-leading mark and second-best score in the world for the 2024 season, just off the world-leading 6,032 set last weekend by Germany’s Tim Nowak.

“I knew coming in with the training that we’ve had, now that I’m a Razorback, it’s unlike anything else I’ve experienced,” said Turner, who improved his previous best of 5,794 set in 2023 at the Conference USA Championships while competing at UTSA. “So, I was really ready to score big just through executing everything.

“We went 1-2-3-4, and that just shows the group that I’ve become a part of and training here every day with those boys is everything I’ve asked for years now. Coach Geopfert has changed how I see this sport. I’m glad it showed with my even 6k.”

Turner ranks No. 2 on the British all-time list with the No. 5 performance. The British national record of 6,188 is held by Tim Duckworth from 2018. On the Arkansas all-time list, Turner is No. 5.

The Arkansas heptathlon crew included Yariel Soto Torrado placing second with 5,874 points, which included 910 points from leading the field with a 16-4.75 (5.00) pole vault. Marcus Weaver set a career best of 5,814 in third place, moving to No. 8 on the UA all-time list. Daniel Spejcher finished fourth with a 5,716 score.

In a scored meet, like the SEC Indoor, a sweep of the top four places would earn 29 team points.

“It’s really different when you have this pack,” noted Turner. “I’m very lucky to have a group like this and I’m glad I chose to be a Razorback, that’s for sure.”

Turner’s marks over the two days of the event included 7.09 (60m), 25-6|7.77 (long jump), 44-3.25|13.49 (shot put), 6-4|1.93 (high jump), 8.19 (60m hurdles), 15-9|4.80 (pole vault), and 2:35.52 (1,000m). The points Turner attained in each discipline included 865 – 1,002 – 697 – 740 – 935 – 849 – 912.

In addition to having the top heptathlon score by a British athlete this season, Turner is also the British leader in the long jump with his 25-6 (7.77) performance.

“I suspect scoring 6,000 in the heptathlon is going to do the same thing for me that scoring 8k did for me in the decathlon last year,” stated Turner. “I felt like that it’s a barrier at a certain level and once your over it something changes. I view myself as an 8k decathlete now and a 6k heptathlete. I’ve got over that lip, or barrier, and now it’s going to cascade, but upwards.”

Arkansas capped the Razorback Invitational with a 3:04.27 runner-up in the 4 x 400m relay, producing the seventh fastest time in Arkansas history, as they were a stride behind Florida’s world-leading winning time of 3:04.08.

The Hog foursome included Connor Washington (47.45), Lance Lang (44.94), Steven McElroy (45.35), and TJ Tomlyanovich (46.52). The Gators splits included Reheem Hayles (46.32), Wanya McCoy (45.89), Ashton Schwartzman (46.84), and Jevaughn Powell (45.03).

Four teams from another section claimed the next four positions with LSU (3:06.77), Georgia (3:07.98), Mississippi State (3:08.21), and Kentucky (3:08.36). Georgia’s Christopher Morales Williams produced the fastest split of 44.93 on a second leg carry while Lang’s 44.94 was second best overall.

Arkansas freshman John Kendricks improved his career best twice while placing fourth among an elite pole vault field that included current world leader in professional KC Lightfoot and current collegiate leader Keaton Daniel of Kentucky.

Entering the meet with an indoor best of 16-5.25 and an outdoor best of 17-1, Kendricks topped both with a series of marks that included first attempt clearances at 16-2.75 (4.95), 16-8.75 (5.10), and 17-2.75 (5.25).

Two attempts were needed for 17-8.5 (5.40), which places Kendricks at equal No. 5 on the Arkansas all-time list. He finished the day with three attempts at 18-0.5 (5.50).

“It was a really good competition, with all the good guys in the SEC and two pros,” said Kendricks. “I was happy with fourth, and I was second among the SEC guys. When you’re competing against the guys you will face the rest of the year it’s a good feeling to come out second as a freshman.

“It was a big PR, the best day I could have asked for, and better than what I hoped for. It was a product of all the hard work me and Coach Geopfert have put in. I’ll say the uniform is heavy. The first time wearing the uniform a couple of weeks ago it was real heavy, and I didn’t do good. But I felt more comfortable this time. I was much more prepared and I want to continue that attitude throughout the year.”

Lightfoot won the pole vault with a 19-0.25 (5.80) clearance while Daniel finished as runner-up with an 18-8.5 (5.70) clearance.

Patrick Kiprop improved his career best in the 3,000m with a runner-up finish of 7:52.21 while Reuben Reina placed fifth in his debut with a 7:54.13. Elias Schreml also set a career best of 7:55.43 in finishing sixth.

Ben Shearer produced a 3:59.71 career best in placing seventh in the Invitational mile, becoming the 12th American Razorback to run sub-4 minutes. Jack Williams finished eighth in another section with a PR of 4:06.14 followed in 10th place by Tommy Romanow in 4:13.31.

The top three finishers in the 60m hurdles all clocked times of 7.68 with the Texas A&M tandem of Connor Schulman (7.672) and Jaqualon Scott (7.673) placing first and second while Phillip Lemonious (6.675) finished third.

Earlier in the meet Lang sped to a career best of 6.64 for sixth place in the 60m, moving to No. 5 on the UA all-time list. Rojé Stona placed seventh in the shot put with a toss of 59-11.75 (18.28). An indoor best of 1:48.10 placed Riley Wells ninth in the 800m as Marco Arop won in a world-leading 1:45.51.