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A local star becomes track legend

BY ANDRES FOCIL
A local star becomes track legend

As a part of its series in celebration of Black History Month, the Razorback Athletic Department is saluting Trailblazers from the African-American community who have attended the University of Arkansas.

Wallace Spearmon, Jr. was one of the final installments to the success Arkansas track and field earned under legendary coach John McDonnell. To this day, Spearmon, Jr. still looks to McDonnell as a father figure and role model and at Razorback Nation as his extended family. A Fayetteville native and a second generation Razorback, Spearmon, Jr. took American short sprinting to a new level during his freshman and sophomore seasons at Arkansas (2004-05), during his professional career representing Nike and will continue his legacy with Saucony.

Spearmon, Jr. won 200-meter medals at his first two trips to the World Outdoor Championships (2005, 2007) and added a third at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin win he captured the bronze medal with his season’s best time of 19.85 seconds. During the 2008 Olympic Games 200-meter final in Beijing, Spearmon came roaring back from a slow start to finish third in 19.95 seconds but was later disqualified for a lane violation, running on the inside line.

Spearmon, Jr. proved his versatility in 2007 by ending the season ranked in the top ten in the world by Track & Field News for the first time in the 100 meters (#10) and posting a personal best in that event of 9.96 seconds in Shanghai. Spearmon was superb in the 200 meters again in 2007, with his runner-up finish at the USA Outdoor Championships and by winning the bronze medal at the World Outdoor Championships in Osaka.

At the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships, he fulfilled his potential with two American Records in the 200 meters. He first ran 20.21 in the semifinals then improved to 20.10 in the final. Both broke the existing AR of 20.26 set by Shawn Crawford and John Capel in 2000. As a freshman in 2004, Spearmon became the first Razorback in history to win the NCAA Outdoor 200-meter title.

He was a three-sport standout at Fayetteville High School, where he played basketball and wide receiver in football for two years. He earned all-state honors in the 100, 200, 400-meter dashes, the long (best of 23-5) and triple (best of 45-9) jumps, high jump (best of 6-6) and 4×100 and 4×400-meter relay teams. He also competed in the decathlon and 300-meter hurdles.

Spearmon’s father, Wallace Sr., was a two-time All-American for Coach McDonnell at Arkansas and was a part of the first national championship team in 1984 as a sprinter. He was a 200-meter bronze medalist at the 1986 Goodwill Games and 1987 Pan American Games. He competed for Team USA at the 1987 World Outdoor Championships in Rome, Italy.

Spearmon, Jr. now splits his time between Fayetteville and College Station, Texas, where he trains and serves as a volunteer assistant coach at Texas A&M University under head coach Pat Henry.



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