Three impressive Razorback victories on second day in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – Arkansas produced three impressive victories on the second day of the New Mexico Collegiate Classic on Saturday, highlighted by the second fastest 4 x 400m relay ever as the Razorbacks broke the school record with a 3-minute, 1.09 second victory.
A dramatic win was claimed by Arkansas’ Jordan West in the shot put, winning with a career best toss of 66-5.76 (20.26) in the final round to hand Turner Washington of Arizona State (65-10.5|20.08) his first loss indoors since February 29, 2020. Washington was a Bowerman finalist in 2021 and is the two-time defending NCAA champion in the shot put.
Razorback freshman Jaydon Hibbert made his debut special as he claimed the triple jump with identical marks of 54-10.75 (16.73) from a short approach in the first two rounds. It’s the current collegiate leader and ranks fourth in the world for 2023.
The Arkansas relay foursome consisted of Connor Washington (46.61), James Benson II (44.82), Ayden Owens-Delerme (45.34), and Chris Bailey (44.32). The split by Bailey ranks No. 4 all-time in the world, while Benson adds another top 10 fastest all-time on a second leg carry following his 44.65 from last year’s NCAA meet.
Finishing behind the Razorbacks were Texas A&M (3:02.98), Arizona State (3:05.83), and Oklahoma (3:05.66).
Arkansas’ time only trails the collegiate record of 3:00.77 set by USC in 2018, which is also the world best time. The previous UA record of 3:03.18 was set in 2022.
“That’s what you get when you have a great group of guys willing to do the work and work hard every single day,” said Arkansas associate head coach Chris Bucknam. “The results show what they did and what you can get when you put that into it.
“It was a great race, and we can do more than that, we think.”
An additional relay squad for Arkansas included Devontie Archer (46.63), Jeremy Farr (47.04), TJ Tomlyanovich (46.94) and Brandon Battle (46.78) for a 3:07.83 effort.
West led the shot put field through four rounds with a series of 65-3.5 (19.90), 65-7.75 (20.01) 65-7.75 (20.01), and 65-7.75 (20.01), hitting the same mark three consecutive times. A foul followed in round five when Washington moved into the lead with a 65-10.5 (20.08) effort.
Then West produced the winning mark of 66-5.75 in the sixth round, after Washington had a foul.
“It was a very good competing, going into the meet we knew who was going to be there,” said West. “The defending national champion Turner Washington was there, and he is a very big target for me. It was good to go head-to-head for the first time this season and actually do pretty well.
“It definitely was a great experience. I’ve never thrown there in my six years of college. Going there for the first time to get a lay of the land was pretty nice. Also having my two teammates throw very well in addition to the decs having some PRs today too.”
West moves to No. 2 on the UA all-time list as he bettered his previous best of 65-10.25 (20.07). He only trails the Arkansas school record of 66-9.25 (20.35).
“Jordan is a veteran in the event,” stated Arkansas volunteer assistant John Newell. “I’m most impressed with the three shot putters and the multi-event crew all having a great showing in the shot put.”
“Jordan has been in that position before and had it not go his way. So, it’s just showing his experience and trusting the training and embracing the group that he is training with and representing Arkansas.”
Teammates in the competition included career best marks from Rojé Stona (63-5.75|19.35) and Ralford Mullings (58-8|17.88) as they placed fourth and eighth while moving to No. 5 and No. 8 on the UA all-time list.
“It’s the first time Ralford, Rojê, and Jordan have all been able to compete together and, I think, it showed them the importance of the group,” added Newell. “I think the group led to the performances of the three guys.”
Hibbert, the World U20 Champion in 2022, moves to No. 9 on the UA all-time list with his winning mark. His short approach on both attempts was eight steps.
“Actually, I was not expecting to jump that far today, because of what I’ve been through the past month” noted Hibbert. “I was more content on the second one, but the first one I was nervous. I like when I’m nervous because it usually helps me to jump far.
“I don’t really think about the jump too much versus the second one, where I was kind of thinking about the jump. Hence, no improvement. It’s fine, it just shows that I’m consistent.”
Runner-up to Hibbert was a 53-7 (16.33) mark by Russell Robinson of Miami with LSU’s Apalos Edwards third with a 52-11 (16.13). Razorback Carey McLeod finished fourth with a 52-7.5 (16.04) while Ryan Brown placed ninth with a 50-9 (15.47). Arkansas alum Clive Pullen placed sixth at 52-6 (16.00).
Tre’Bien Gilbert led the Arkansas trio in the 60m hurdles, placing fifth in the final with a career best of 7.69, which is No. 5 on the UA all-time list. Owens-Delerme placed sixth in 7.73 after he set a career best of 7.71 in the prelims, moving to No. 6 on the UA all-time list.
Alum Omar McLeod finished as runner-up in the hurdle race with a 7.61.
Other Razorbacks in the shot put included multi-event athletes, who were led by Noah Swaby (50-2.75|15.31) and included Marcus Weaver (49-7.25|15.12), Daniel Spejcher (48-11.5|14.92), and Yariel Soto Torrado (45-2.5|13.78).
Rhett Nelson placed 11th in a very deep pole vault field, clearing 17-0 (5.18). Princeton’s Sondre Gotterman won the event with a 19-4.25 (5.90) clearance with Texas Tech’s Zack Bradford runner-up with a 19-1.5 (5.83).
Racing at 800m, Ethan Carney placed 10th in 1:53.27.