Robert Black

Lawson, Kebenei Round Out Worlds Qualifiers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The final day of competition at the 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento brought two more world championships qualifiers for the Arkansas men’s track and field team on Sunday afternoon.

ProHogs Stanley Kebenei and Jarrion Lawson closed out the national meet in phenomenal fashion, collecting hardware in their respective events for their exceptional efforts.

Team USA Returner
A 2016 Olympic qualifier one year prior, Lawson returned to the outdoor national qualifier determined to make Team USA again and successfully accomplished his mission. Despite having relatively little 2017 competition tune-ups under his belt due to his battle with injury, Lawson opened the meet with an event-leading mark of 8.18m/26-10w. His first jump almost definitively guaranteed him a spot in the long jump finals. He went on to maximize the generous tailwind on three more occasions, marking a best of 8.49m/27-10 1/4w in the fifth round. The 2016 Bowerman Award winner closed out his day with a wind-legal, world-qualifying mark of 8.27m/27-1 3/4 (wind-aided marks aren’t accepted). He will head to London, England in August for the 2017 IAAF World Championships as the USATF outdoor long jump gold medalist.

“Just from the beginning I told myself I was ready to bounce back from the 100-meter dash,” Lawson said. “This track meet was my first one being back at full speed so I told myself I’m just going get out there and have a good first jump and take off from there. Regardless of the wind, that was probably the best series I’ve ever had in a long time.”

On pace to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team last year, Kebenei stumbled over the final water jump and was passed by a flurry of runners over the final 100 meters. One year later, Kebenei refused to be denied the opportunity to compete for Team USA, qualifying for the world championships as the silver medalist in the steeplechase. Running in fifth position for the majority of the race, Kebenei picked off three runners over the final two laps, finishing behind Olympic silver medalist Evan Jager in 8 minutes, 16.88 seconds. Kebenei, Jager (first) and Hillary Bor (third) will represent the U.S. in the steeplechase later this summer at the world championships.

Additional Notable Performances
• Kenzo Cotton finished eighth in the 200-meter finals in 20.78.

Arkansas finished the weekend with seven world championships qualifiers. Rising senior Kemar Mowatt is the only qualifier that has collegiate eligibility for the 2017-18 season and will return to the Razorback squad this fall.

2017 IAAF World Championships Qualifiers: Meet Central
Kemoy Campbell (5,000 Meters)
Omar McLeod (110-Meter Hurdles)
Kemar Mowatt (400-Meter Hurdles)
Clive Pullen (Triple Jump)

United States
Andrew Irwin (Pole Vault)
Stanley Kebenei (Steeplechase)
Jarrion Lawson (Long Jump)

USATF Outdoor Championships
Day Four Results

200 Meters Semifinals
8. Marqueze Washington – 20.61
10. Kenzo Cotton – 20.77 Q
14. Tyson Gay – 21.37

200 Meters Finals
8. Kenzo Cotton – 20.78

Steeplechase Finals
2. Stanley Kebenei – 8:18.54 (Worlds Qualifier)

Long Jump Finals
1. Jarrion Lawson – 8.49m/27-10 1/4 (Worlds Qualifier)
17. Travonn White – 7.54m/24-9

For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.