Arkansas Making Run for SEC Crown; Lincoln Cap
BY ANDRES FOCIL
Starkville, Miss. – Arkansas rallied in its field events to earn 11 points on the second day of competition at the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships, while junior Daniel Lincoln won the SEC 3,000-meter steeplechase title for the second year in a row.
“This was as close to perfect as I could have hoped for up to this stage,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “We’re in a position to have a go at Tennessee. It just depends on tomorrow with all the finals. Eddie (Jackson) and Mike (Thomas) were superb today, but Jonathan Reeves and I were a little disappointed with fifth place in the shot put. Daniel Lincoln is a super competitor and he had a great performance tonight. At least we still have a fighting chance.”
Lincoln, the defending SEC and NCAA steeplechase champion, finished first with a time of 8:44.07. Earlier this season he ran the fastest time by an American (8:29.16) and automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships. Sophomore Westley Alkin finished seventh with a time of 9:19.26 in his first time to run in the steeplechase.
With their finishes Arkansas earned 12 points to pull them into a 50-point tie for first with defending SEC Champion Tennessee after seven events.
In the prelims of the 110-meter hurdles junior Eddie Jackson and sophomore Michael Thomas both qualified for the finals with season-best times. Jackson finished second in his heat with a time of 13.76, while Thomas also finished second in his heat with a NCAA automatic qualifying time of 13.66.
Six Razorbacks ran in the prelims of the 1,500 meters and four were able to qualify for the finals. In the first heat freshmen James Hatch took the tape to qualify for the finals with a career-best time of 3:47.77. Sophomores Chris Mulvaney and Alistair Cragg finished second and third with qualifying times of 3:47.89 and 3:47.91, respectively. In the second heat freshman Michael Taylor finished first with a time of 3:52.19 ahead of defending SEC champion, David Kimani of Alabama.
In the long jump junior Richard Smith and sophomore Ramon Washington earned seven points for Arkansas as they finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Smith jumped 24-7.00, while Washington registered a mark of 24-6.50. This put Arkansas in third place with 34 points after five events.
In the shot put freshman Jonathan Reeves placed fifth with a throw of 55-6.25 earning Arkansas four points. This put the Hogs in a 38-point tie with Georgia for second place after six events.
Freshman Ahmad Carroll represented Arkansas in the 100-meter dash. He finished tenth overall in the prelims with a time of 10.50 and fell just short of qualifying for the finals.
Junior Josh Roberts and sophomore P.J. Brown were unable to register a height in the pole vault.
On Sunday, May 12 Arkansas hopes to gather as many points as possible in the finals to regain the SEC Outdoor Crown. Field events will begin at 4 p.m. with junior Richard Smith, sophomores Ramon Washington and Maurice Robinson in the triple jump. The first running event is scheduled to start at 6:10 p.m. with Arkansas’ 4×100-meter relay team of senior Sam Glover, junior Eddie Jackson, sophomore Michael Thomas and freshman Ahmad Carroll.
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