Mowatt’s best sea­son go­ing a dis­tance

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE - NATE ALLEN

FAYET­TEVILLE — Ke­mar Mowatt’s great­est sea­son run­ning track is tak­ing by far the long­est to com­plete.

In 2015 at Texas A&M-Cor­pus Christi and 2016 as a trans­fer at the Uni­ver­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville, Mowatt ran un­til June.

This sea­son, Mowatt is run­ning into Au­gust.

An All-Amer­i­can for the Ra­zor­backs af­ter fin­ish­ing third in the 400-me­ter in­ter­me­di­ate hur­dles at last month’s NCAA Men’s Out­door Cham­pi­onships in Eu­gene, Ore., Mowatt will run for Ja­maica at the World Cham­pi­onships on Aug. 5-13 in Lon­don.

Wear­ing an Arkansas jersey at Ja­maica’s na­tional cham­pi­onship meet, Mowatt of St. El­iz­a­beth, Ja­maica, nearly up­set Ja­maican cham­pion Ja­heel Hyde, the 2014 World Ju­nior cham­pion.

Both were timed at 48.53, with Hyde de­clared the photo-fin­ish win­ner.

The World Cham­pi­onship pic­ture in Lon­don in­cludes both of Ja­maica’s 400 hur­dlers.

It will bring a re­mark­able end to a re­mark­able sea­son for a run­ner so over­looked by the big schools that he ran for a year at Texas A&M-Cor­pus Christi be­fore beg­ging Arkansas men’s track and field Coach Chris Buck­nam to ac­cept him as a trans­fer.

Doug Case, the Ra­zor­backs sprints coach, stresses it’s a re­mark­able end re­gard­less of where Mowatt fin­ishes in Lon­don.

“I’m try­ing not to get his ex­pec­ta­tions too far out of line at Worlds be­cause it’s been a long col­le­giate sea­son,” Case said. “Usu­ally you get to NCAAs and it’s th­ese guys’ last meet of the sea­son. You have a big step like he did and are go­ing to the World Cham­pi­onships and that changes ev­ery­thing.”

Ex­cept it shouldn’t if the late-bloom­ing ju­nior isn’t up to world class in Lon­don.

“He’s strong, and he’s still go­ing to do well,” Case said. “He just needs to go out there and do what he can do and not be dis­ap­pointed. You are at the World Cham­pi­onships. You need to be happy with it. He’s got big­ger things to come next year.”

Es­pe­cially if he im­proves like this year, re­peat­edly im­prov­ing his pre­vi­ous per­sonal record 50.66 and nearly match­ing what seemed a ridicu­lous goal that Mowatt set for 2017.

“It’s funny be­cause his goal this year was 48.48,” Case said. “He missed it by one-hun­dredth of a sec­ond.”

Case spoke with mock anger. “I told him, ‘That’s ter­ri­ble. To miss it by one-hun­dredth of a sec­ond,’ ” Case said smil­ing. “Hey, that’s in­cred­i­ble. Not very of­ten do you do that.”

Lon­don gives him at least one more shot at 48.48.

“I still am feel­ing con­fi­dent and still feel­ing a shot at the top eight at Worlds,” Mowatt said. “And who knows? Put me in the fi­nals and any game can play.”

Mowatt in­sists he’ll have the en­ergy to play it even as he fin­ished a July work­out look­ing ready to sleep through Oc­to­ber.

“Now this work­out, I’m dead right now,” Mowatt said. “But I know I’m strong. I trust the pro­gram. My body has never been this far into the sea­son but it still feels strong.”

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE

Arkansas hur­dler Ke­mar Mowatt will end his best sea­son next month run­ning for his na­tive Ja­maica at the World Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don.

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