Arkansas Starts Outdoor Season with Texas Rela
BY ANDRES FOCIL
AUSTIN, Texas – The Arkansas track and field team will kick off the 2004 outdoor campaign when it sends 21 athletes to Austin, Texas for the 77th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on April 1-3. The Texas Relays will mark the first time since the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 13 the Razorbacks have seen competition.
“This is our first meet of the season and we really want to start it off on a good note,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “We’ve got some good relays that should be pretty competitive. I think the sprint medley will be real good, along with 4×800, distance medley and 4×1,500. Texas is a good place to showcase for recruits, so it’s important we do well in the relays there.”
The Razorbacks will use this early opportunity to take on the nation’s best at the Mike A. Myers Stadium. On Thursday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. senior P.J. Brown and junior Jimmy Duke will represent UA in the pole vault. The 4×800-meter relay is next on the schedule at 4:15 p.m. as the Hogs try to claim their third-straight title with senior Chris Mulvaney, juniors Said Ahmed and Michael Taylor and freshman Sam Vazquez handling baton duties. Three Razorbacks will take to the track at 5 p.m. in the 400-meter hurdles, including senior Maurice Bridges and sophomores Brad Dittoe and David Wittenmyer.
On Friday senior Michael Thomas will start the day at 9:30 a.m. in the 110-meter hurdles, while freshman Creighton Kiper will lineup in the 100-meter dash at the same time. In field events action junior Cory Oldham will compete in the high jump at 11 a.m. and sophomore Eric Brown will be ready to throw the javelin at 7 p.m. An hour later sophomore Eric Gross will run in the open 1,500 meters.
Two relays will cap off the events on Friday night at 8:10 and 9:45 p.m., respectively. The sprint medley relay team will be one to watch with a good group that includes juniors Terry Gatson and James Hatch, sophomore Omar Brown and freshman Wallace Spearmon. The 4×1,500-meter relay has juniors Jason Sandfort, Taylor and Ahmed and freshman Josh Harper taking handoffs.
The 4×200-meter relay and the distance medley relay are scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 12:35 and 1:05 p.m., respectively. Thomas, Brown, Kiper and Spearmon are hoping for a fast time in the 4×200. Mulvaney, Gatson, Hatch and Vazquez will all participate in their second event of the weekend as they look for Arkansas’ fourth-consecutive DMR crown. Freshman Adam Perkins will be the lone Razorback runner in the Jerry Thompson Invitational Mile Run and will report to the start line at 4:10 p.m.
After the Hogs return from Texas they will host the McDonnell Invitational on April 10, at the John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.
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