Mowatt’s best season going a distance
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.”
Arkansas hurdler Kemar Mowatt will end his best season next month running for his native Jamaica at the World Championships in London.