Arkansas Takes Title at SEC West Challenge; Ea
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The second-ranked Arkansas track and field team started the 2003 indoor season in fine fashion as they claimed the SEC West Challenge title with 151.33 points in front of a hometown crowd at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The number one ranked LSU Tigers came in second with 97.33 points. Mississippi State was third with 93.33, Alabama came in fourth with 83 and Ole Miss finished with 49 points for fifth place.
The Razorbacks were also able to gain a NCAA automatic qualification with their distance medley relay team.
“This was a good meet and everybody looked good,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “The DMR looked really good. We were going after a qualifying time and they had no competition. The main thing is that we qualified and we don’t have to run it again.”
Arkansas’ DMR team took the title with a fast automatic qualifying time of 9:35.13. Senior Daniel Lincoln led off the race to give the Hogs a sizable lead, then senior Josh Landreth extended the lead in the second leg. Junior Robbie Stevens took the third leg to hand off to junior Alistair Cragg. Cragg anchored the team to the finish line for the first place performance.
Four other individuals earned provisional qualifying times and marks.
“The jumpers, Michael Thomas and Ahmad Carroll looked good,” McDonnell said. “And James Hatch looked good in the 800. Luis Bordes ran well in the 5K, even though it wasn’t a NCAA qualifying time, he’ll earn good points at conference. Westley Alkin was really good in the 3,000 meters. In a long race like that Jason Sandfort does better when he isn’t the one leading, but I’m not disappointed with his finish. Overall, the chemistry on the team is developing well and it will only get better with time.”
Senior Richard Smith was the first Hog to become a qualifier as he finished in second place in the long jump with a provisional qualifying mark of 25-2.00. Senior Ramon Washington was fourth with a jump of 24-5.50 and junior Tom Crowder was seventh with a career-best 23-2.00. In the triple jump junior Maurice Robinson leaped a mark of 51-00.25 to finish second.
In the prelims of the 60-meter dash three Razorbacks competed. Sophomore Ahmad Carroll was the only one to qualify to the finals with a time of 6.77. Junior Tom Crowder was 12th (7.01) and junior Maurice Robinson was 14th (7.06). In the finals of the event Carroll ran a provisional qualifying time of 6.71 to place second.
In the always popular mile run, junior Silverus Kimeli won the race with a career-best and provisional qualifying time of 4:03.38. Sophomore Phillip Aagaard crossed the line in third (4:08.62) and sophomore Michael Taylor came in fifth (4:09.09).
Junior Michael Thomas won the 60-meter hurdles competition with a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 7.78. Thomas also ran in the 200-meter dash and posted a ninth-place finish with a time of 21.81.
Freshman Luis Bordes captured the 5,000-meter title with a time of 15:03.18, while senior Patrick Thomas finished third (15:11.62).
Sophomore James Hatch won the 800-meter title as he led the entire race with a time of 1:50.28. Senior Chad Grundy came in third with a time of 1:52.24.
In the loaded 3,000-meter run junior Westley Alkin kicked in at the end to claim the individual title with a time of 8:12.16, beating out Alabama’s Peter Kiprono. Sophomore Jason Sandfort followed in third with a time of 8:15.51 and sophomore Said Ahmed was fourth (8:23.02).
In the 400-meter dash senior Josh Landreth crossed the line in fourth (48.48), junior transfer Maurice Bridges came in eighth (48.93), true freshmen David Wittenmyer and Brad Dittoe finished 11th (49.66) and 15th (50.56), respectively.
Arkansas’ 1,600-meter relay team of Wittenmyer, Bridges, Landreth and Dittoe wrapped up the meet with their fifth place performance of 3:14.81.
In other field events action sophomore Jonathan Reeves came in second in the shot put with a throw of 54-1.25.
In the pole vault junior P.J. Brown placed second with a mark of 16-4.75. Senior Josh Roberts tied for fourth (15-5.00) and sophomore Jimmy Duke tied for sixth (14-11.00).
Sophomore Cory Oldham represented the Hogs in the high jump and finished in a three-way tie for first with a height of 6-8.75.
With the first indoor meet under their belts, the Razorbacks will travel next to the Missouri Southern Invitational in Joplin, Mo., on January 25 in hopes of gaining more NCAA qualifiers.
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