Arkansas Set to Host McDonnell Invitational
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After coming off a successful weekend at the Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, Arkansas’ track and field team is hosting the third annual John McDonnell Invitational at McDonnell Field on April 12. Field events are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., with running events beginning at 2 p.m.
A total of fourteen schools are competing at the invitational meet. Joining Arkansas are Barton, Butler and Neosho County Community Colleges, Harding, Kansas, Louisiana-Monroe, Missouri Southern State College, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma Baptist, Oklahoma State, Southern Illinois, Southwest Missouri State and Tulsa.
“We’re coming off a good weekend at the Texas Relays,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “We won three relays down there and the 1,500. Our hurdlers did a great job. Last year they opened up at 14.1 or 14.2 and now they’re running 13.8. We were happy with it, but we have to get some regional qualifying times. The standards aren’t that tough, but we still have to get out there and run the races and do the jumps and get in. If you don’t have those you cannot go to regionals. There are 14 colleges and universities competing this weekend and I think it’s going to be a really good meet.”
The Hogs will take this opportunity to gain more regional qualifiers in the middle distance events. Five Razorbacks, including senior Chad Grundy, juniors Phillip Aagaard and Robbie Stevens, sophomore Said Ahmed and freshman David Wittenmyer are running in the 800 meters. In the 1,500-meter run four Hogs will take to the track. Senior Daniel Lincoln, junior Alistair Cragg and sophomore James Hatch and Michael Taylor are all running in the event.
The 3,000 meters will also contain a loaded field of UA athletes that includes juniors Westley Alkin, Silverus Kimeli and Chris Mulvaney, sophomores Matt Gunn and Jason Sandfort and freshman Luis Bordes.
Arkansas will run two different relay teams on Saturday. The 4×100-meter relay team is made up of seniors Eddie Jackson and Richard Smith, junior Michael Thomas and sophomore Ahmad Carroll.
Jackson is also UA’s lone representative in the 110-meter hurdles, while Thomas, a seasoned hurdler, will run in the 200-meter dash with Carroll. Smith will see additional competition in the 100-meter dash and the long jump, with junior Tom Crowder.
The 4×400-meter relay team will include juniors Maurice Bridges, Josh Landreth, Stevens and freshman Brad Dittoe. Bridges, Landreth and Dittoe are also running in the 400-meter hurdles. Sophomore Chason Pompey will run in the 400-meter dash.
Crowder is also competing in the pole vault with senior Josh Roberts, junior P.J. Brown and sophomore Jimmy Duke. The McDonnell Invitational will mark Roberts’ first meet since the Missouri Southern Invitational in January.
Junior Ramon Washington will double up in the long and triple jumps. Sophomore Cory Oldham will compete in the high jump and freshman Tony Ugoh will throw the discus.
Next on the schedule for Coach McDonnell and his Razorbacks is the Mt. SAC Relays on April 17-19, in Walnut, Calif., with the Penn Relays immediately following on April 25-26, in Philadelphia, Penn.
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