COLUMBIA — Arkansas athlete Makeba Alcide won the heptathlon and fellow Razorback Kevin Lazas placed second in the decathlon at the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Friday at Audrey J. Walton Stadium.
Alcide, a senior at Arkansas, had a dominating performance in the heptathlon. She scored 5,968 points and missed the record set by LSU's Sharon Jaklofsky in 1991. Lazas, a junior at Arkansas, lost by 202 points to Georgia’s Maciel Uibo.
The strong start by Alcide and Lazas give Arkansas, ranked No. 5 in the men’s poll and No. 6 in the women’s poll, a strong start to the SEC Outdoor Championships.
Lazas said that he likes the decathlon and heptathlon because he always has the chance to give his team a strong start.
Stadium workers used leaf blowers to dry the runway before the heptathlon long jump. The drying process needed to be repeated several more times throughout day before events in both the heptathlon and decathlon.
Off the track at the nearby decathlon discus throw, Lazas placed a towel on the wet concrete before each throw. The rain started just before the decathlon discus started, which was the second event of the day.
Alcide placed fifth at last year's conference championships while recovering from a stress fracture in her leg. She is a native of Castries, St. Lucia, a small Caribbean Island. She owns the country’s national records in the pentathlon and heptathlon.
Fellow St. Lucia native Jeannelle Scheper competes for South Carolina.
Arkansas recruited Alcide when coaches saw her compete in the Central American and Caribbean Games.
Lazas is from Brentwood, Tenn. He fell in love with Arkansas on his first visit to the school and is trying to gain a spot on the U.S. national team.
Lazas treated Thursday and Friday’s decathlon as a practice for the NCAA’s East Preliminary on May 23-25 in Greensboro, N.C. He tweaked his left knee at the end of indoor season. Because of that he took some time off during outdoor season and still needs to get in shape for the NCAA meets.
This was evident in the final event, the 1500-meter dash. Lazas trailed Uibo by just 149 points heading into the event. He had the second-best personal record of the decathletes in the decathlon 1500. Uibo, though, had the best.
Lazas admitted he jogged in the 1500 because it is a hard event. He finished sixth in the race.
But that earned him a second overall finish because he was steady in other events.
“In the decathlon, you don’t have to be great, you just have to be consistent,” Lazas said.