Arkansas Charges on with 14 Final Qualifiers;
BY ANDRES FOCIL
COLUMBUS, Ohio. – Arkansas qualified all but four of its 18 athletes to the finals in Friday’s competition of the NCAA Mideast Regional Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium and put up 11 points for fifth place in the team competition, while junior Alistair Cragg earned second place in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 14:05.45, guaranteeing himself a spot at the NCAA Championships.
The 5,000-meter run was full of Razorback runners, but it was Boaz Cheboiywo of Eastern Michigan who ran the rest of the field into the ground and took home the trophy with a time of 13:45.42. Cragg had led the region coming into the race with a time of 13:25.59 as he took a nice and comfortable pace for runner-up honors.
“I’m very pleased with the first day,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “I told Alistair not to run with Boaz and just to finish in the top five. Jason did well considering he’s been sick all year.”
Sophomore Jason Sandfort just missed qualifying for the national meet when he crossed the line in sixth with a time of 14:21.40. Junior Silverus Kimeli was the next Hog to finish when he came in 23rd (15:08.84) and freshman Luis Bordes was right behind in 24th (15:11.60). Westley Alkin turned in a time of 15:28.74 for 26th place.
Four Razorbacks advanced in the 1,500 meters. Junior Chris Mulvaney came in third in the third heat with a 3:48.26. Sophomores Said Ahmed and James Hatch took the top two spots in the second heat with times of 3:55.31 and 3:55.62. Sophomore Michael Taylor also finished first in the opening heat with 3:47.94. Senior Chad Grundy was unable to qualify for the finals when he came in fifth in the second heat with a time of 3:56.35.
In the 110-meter hurdles both senior Eddie Jackson and junior Michael Thomas were able to advance to the finals. Thomas crossed the line first in his heat with a time of 13.79, while Jackson’s time of 13.88 was good enough to make him the seventh qualifier in the eight man final field.
Sophomore Ahmad Carroll represented UA in the 100 and 200-meter dashes and advanced to the finals in both of the events. In the 100 he posted a career-best 10.28 as he finished third in his heat. In the 200 he came in second in his heat, but ran a qualifying time of 21.25.
“Ahmad had a great day,” McDonnell said. “This has become the standard for him. He has arrived and has the confidence to run with the best.”
Junior Robbie Stevens won his heat of the 800 meters in a time of 1:49.05 to easily qualify for the finals.
The 400-meter hurdles saw only one Hog advance to the finals. Junior transfer Maurice Bridges took the tape in his heat to qualify as he ran a time of 51.41. Senior Josh Landreth did not qualify as he registered 55.19.
In the long jump seniors Richard Smith and Ramon Washington were unable to advance to the finals after they registered marks of 24-7.00 and 24-1.00, respectively.
“I really thought Ramon and Richard would both be able to qualify, but hopefully Ramon will get in with his high ranking,” McDonnell said. “Overall, we’re competing good, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Saturday’s events will begin with the finals of the javelin at 12 p.m., while senior Daniel Lincoln in the 3,000-meter steeplechase will wrap up the events for the Hogs at 8:30 p.m.
Top 10 Team Results Through Five Events:
1. Auburn 28
2. Ohio State 23
3. Purdue 18
4. Indiana 14
5. Arkansas 11
6. Missouri 10
Southern Mississippi 10
Eastern Michigan 10
9. Illinois State 8
10. LSU 7
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