Arkansas Captures Seventh-Straight 4×1,500 Rel
BY ANDRES FOCIL
AUSTIN, Texas – Arkansas captured its’ seventh-straight 4×1,500-meter relay title and gained two new NCAA regional qualifications late Friday night at the 78th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays at Mike A. Myers Stadium. The Hogs were looking for good performances after they had a less than stellar showing on Thursday.
“It was nice to finally get a win with the 4×1,500,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “The sprint medley relay was a disaster. The first three ran great, but James Hatch must be sick or something. That was not like him tonight. Tomorrow we’re really looking forward to the DMR and 4×400. We have good teams, but the competition will be tough.”
Even though the 4×1,500-meter relay was the final event of the evening, it certainly was not the least as the Hogs turned in a winning time of 15:24.42. Junior Marc Rodrigues took the lead-off leg in a split of 3:50, while running in the third and fourth positions. He handed off to sophomore Peter Kosgei who pulled the team into the lead with a clocking of 3:48. Junior Josphat Boit handled the third leg and extended UA’s lead with a time of 3:55. Boit passed the baton to senior Said Ahmed who maintained a comfortable lead and held on for the first-place finish.
The sprint medley relay had expectations of being a contender for the title with freshman Michael Grant, sophomore Wallace Spearmon Jr., and seniors Omar Brown and James Hatch handling the baton, but ended up finishing eighth in their heat with a time of 3:27.05. Last year the Hogs grabbed third place with a time of 3:16.26. Grant, Spearmon and Brown all ran solid legs, but Hatch faded on his final lap, turning in a split of 2:00.
Freshman Chessly Johnson became the first Hog to record a regional standard when he posted a mark of 50-8.25 for second place in the triple jump.
Junior Jose Campos was also able to earn a regional qualification as he was running in his first 3,000-meter steeplechase as a Razorback. The 2003 national junior college champion registered a time of 9:06.72 for seventh place.
On Saturday UA has teams entered in the distance medley relay and 4×400-meter relay. Senior Tyson Gay will run in his first competition since the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 11, when he takes a leg, along with Brown, Gatson and Spearmon.
Senior Jason Sandfort and freshman Shawn Forrest will represent Arkansas in the mile.
Six Razorbacks are entered in field events, including junior Eric Brown in the javelin, senior Cory Oldham, sophomore Greg Martin and freshman Brent Rosson in the high jump, senior Jaanus Uudmae in the triple jump and senior P.J. Brown in the pole vault.
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