FAYETTEVILLE — Though poles apart from their season’s so far best performances at last week’s Texas Tech hosted meet in Lubbock, the Arkansas Razorbacks ’ All-American women’s pole vault trio of the Weeks sisters and Desiree Freier still vaulted high during Saturday’s completion of the 2-day Tyson Invitational Indoor Track meet at Arkansas’ Randal Tyson Indoor Track.
They vaulted high but not high enough to beat Canadian Olympian and former University of Miami vaulter Alysha Newman’s winning with a Canadian indoor record 15-3 1-2 achieved Saturday vaulting as a professional for Nike.
Lexi Jacobus, Lexi Weeks growing up in Cabot and as a 2016 U.S. Olympian while then a Razorbacks NCAA champion freshman, vaulted 14-9 1-2 for second Saturday while twin sister Tori, now Tori Hoggard as she also got married last summer, placed third vaulting 14-5 1-2 while Freier’s 13-7 3-4 was good for seventh.
The previous weekend in Lubbock Jacobus vaulted 15-2 3-4, Weeks vaulted 14-10 1-2 and Freier vaulted a personal indoor record 14-5 1-2.
Between fatigue, they’ll rest from competition until the SEC Indoor Championships Feb. 24-25 in College Station, Texas, and adjusting to new poles, they weren’t up to last week’s form though they sure tried going head to head vs. Newman originally scheduled to vault in Boston.
“Boston cancelled their pole vault and Alysha Newman called us up and wanted to come down here and it was pretty nice,” Arkansas women’s vault coach Bryan Compton said of Saturday’s competition. “She’s a good vaulter.”
And used to competing against the Arkansas twins as they are used to competing with her.
“Alysha and I, my freshman year competed against each other a lot when she was still in college at Miami,” Jacobus said. “It was kind a little rivalry between the two of us, so it was nice to jump against her again. It was great competition. She did really well.”
That’s what it takes to keep up with the twins, Newman said.
“That’s why I came down here because I know they are so good and so consistent,” Newman said. “Lexi was the one who motivated me through collegiate. I loved jumping with her. And now I’m a pro and it’s even more fun jumping with her.”
The vaulters and Compton want the most fun coming at the SEC and NCAA Indoor Championship meets, which explains some sacrifices made Saturday.
“We got a new set of longer poles in this week, longer poles,” Compton said. “This (for Lexi) was our first meet on them, jumping at the national lead. It takes some adjustment. Timing changes a little bit but if we’re going to jump higher, we’ve got to start raising our grip.
And I think they are a little tired, especially Tori this is her fifth meet in a row.”
It’s been a “Cotton” picking good Tyson meet for Kenzo Cotton, the Arkansas senior All-American men’s sprinter competing Friday and Saturday for the first time since feeling a hamstring twinge after running the 60-meter dash in last month’s Razorback Invitational.
Cotton ran 6.59, his second fastest 60-meter dash ever, for second Friday night to Houston’s Elijah Hall and came back Saturday in his season’s 200-meter dash debut to clock 20.79, winning his heat and placing third overall to separate heat winners Hall, 20.52, and Rodney Rowe, 20.74 of North Carolina A&T.
Also Arkansas Roy Ejiakuekwu clocked a personal record 20.89 for second in Rowe’s heat and fourth overall.
“Season openers in the 200 for both those guys, Roy and Kenzo, and a good start,” Arkansas men’s sprints coach Doug Case said.
Obi Igbokwe, Friday night’s top Arkansas men’s story running a personal best 45.38 open 400-meter dash ranked third among 2018 collegians, and Jamarco Stephen initially missed their 4 x 400 relay exchange connections Saturday slowing the team to a still fast but also-ran 3:05.66.
“Just a terrible exchange turning a split into 48 seconds that would have been 45 seconds,” Case said of the 4 x 400 that the Houston Cougars won in 3:04.18.
In women’s track Saturday at Tyson, Arkansas’ Payton Chadwick (Payton Stumbaugh when she competed for Springdale Har-Ber), clocked 23.15 in Saturday’s 200-meter just off her personal record 22.99, to win her heat and be second overall in the 200 to LSU’s Kortnei Johnson, 23.14.
Chadwick clocked 8.10 for third in Friday’s 60-meter hurdles.
Jada Baylark, a Little Rock Parkview grad running for Arkansas’ women, ran a personal record 7.22 in Friday’s 60-meter dash and came back clocking a personal record 23.36 good for sixth in Saturday’s 200-meter dash.