Arkansas Takes Lead with Sweep in 3,000; Cragg
BY ANDRES FOCIL
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Coming into the second day of competition at the 2003 Southeastern Conference Championships in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center the Razorbacks were in fourth place with four points, but ended the day in an upswing with a total of 38 points and a first place standing when they swept the top four spots in the 3,000-meter run.
“We finished on a nice note,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “That race was really important and we’re exactly where we want to be. I told them we had to get the top four spots and that we wanted to get Silverus qualified for nationals, and we did all that. I hope this momentum carries over tomorrow and I think it will. If we do what we’re supposed to do tomorrow we’ll be in good shape.”
In a loaded 3,000-meter run junior and UA record holder Alistair Cragg claimed the individual SEC title with a time of 7:58.29. It was Cragg’s first SEC victory and he became the eighth Razorback in 11 years to win the race.
Senior Daniel Lincoln came across the line right behind in second with a time of 7:59.07, as junior Silverus Kimeli followed with a career-best and new NCAA provisional qualifying time of 7:59.26. Junior Westley Alkin also posted a career-best time of 8:09.34 when he crossed the line in fourth. Their finishes gave the Hogs an additional 29 points to bump up their total to 38.
Two points were earned earlier in the day as sophomore Jonathan Reeves came in seventh with a season-best throw of 55-9.25 in the shot put.
Two Hogs were able to qualify for the finals of the long jump. Junior Maurice Robinson was Arkansas’ top finisher when he jumped a career-best and provisional qualifying mark of 25-0.00 to place in sixth and tack on three points to UA’s total. Unfortunately, Robinson hurt his knee upon landing and was unable to finish out his attempts.
Senior Richard Smith was the other Razorback to qualify for the finals and posted a mark of 24-5.75 for a ninth place finish, just out of range for scoring points.
In the prelims of the long jump senior Ramon Washington jumped 24-2.50 and junior Jaanus Uudmae posted a mark of 23-7.50.
Junior Michael Thomas, who had already earned an automatic time in the 60-meter hurdles, ran another automatic qualifying time of 7.20 in the prelims of the 55-meter hurdles. His time was good enough to qualify him for the finals and put him at second on UA’s All-time Indoor Top 10 List.
Sophomore Ahmad “Batman” Carroll qualified for the finals of the 55-meter dash when he finished first in his heat with a provisional qualifying time of 6.24. His time also put him tied for second on Arkansas’ All-time Indoor Top 10 List.
The Razorbacks dominated in the prelims of the mile run after four of the five UA athletes entered in the event qualified for the finals. Cragg led the group with a time of 4:06.71. Sophomore James Hatch was right behind when he posted a time of 4:05.76 and junior Chris Mulvaney was next with a time of 4:07.25. Senior Chad Grundy was the last Hog to advance when he turned in a career-best time of 4:08.44. Sophomore transfer Phillip Aagaard ran 4:13.86, but was unable to qualify for the finals.
In the prelims of the 800-meter run two Razorbacks advanced to the finals. In a fast heat Mulvaney ran a season-best and provisional qualifying time of 1:50.01. Junior Robbie Stevens finished with a time of 1:51.05.
Sophomores Michael Taylor and Said Ahmed failed to qualify with times of 1:51.25 and 1:51.58, respectively.
Three UA runners competed in the 400-meter dash, but none were able to advance to the finals. Junior transfer Maurice Bridges finished with a time of 48.88, senior Josh Landreth ran 49.63 and freshman David Wittenmyer posted a time of 50.30.
In the pole vault junior P.J. Brown was unable to clear a height.
Tomorrow will conclude the SEC Indoor Championships with the first field, the men’s weight throw, beginning at 10 a.m. The finals of the 55-meter hurdles will start the running events at 1 p.m.
Men’s Team Results:
South Carolina 27.5
Mississippi State 3
Ole Miss 1
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