Arkansas Takes to Road for Indoor Meet
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After hosting two-straight home meets, the No. 1 ranked Razorbacks are taking their talents on the road for the first time during the 2004 indoor season as they travel to South Bend, Ind., for Notre Dame’s Meyo Invitational on Feb. 6-7.
Arkansas will field a full squad with 24 athletes set to compete at the Loftus Center. Coach McDonnell is hopeful that his Hogs will be able to add to their list of two automatic and four provisional NCAA qualifiers against quality competition.
Twenty-four other schools will be joining Arkansas, including strong programs such as Alabama, Georgetown, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State and Wisconsin.
“This will be a good place for our guys to run well and get qualified,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “All in all, this will probably be the best meet we’ll take place in on the road. We’ve had two home meets, so we to get away and get some experience on the road. We have a lot of guys on the brink of qualifying automatically. We need to get more of those out of the way, so we’re not waiting until the last minute to see if they’ll be one of the top 16 guys at the end of the season.”
Four events are scheduled for Friday night with four Razorbacks in the 5,000 meters to start the evening off. Senior All-American Alistair Cragg, junior All-American Jason Sandfort, sophomore Matt Gunn and freshman Mike Poe will all run in what should be a fast race. UA will also send a distance medley relay team to compete that night, but the participating athletes have yet to be determined.
Junior Chason Pompey will represent Arkansas in the 300-meter dash, while sophomores David Wittenmyer and Brad Dittoe will line up in the 500 meters.
On Saturday the events will last most of the day with the senior All-American Michael Thomas in the 60-meter hurdles and 200-meter dash. Junior transfer and UA record holder Tyson Gay and freshman Creighton Kiper will line up in both the 60 and 200-meter dashes. Junior transfer Omar Brown will also run in the 200 meters.
Sophomore transfer Eric Gross and freshman Adam Perkins will look to improve their times as they run in the mile. Senior All-American Robbie Stevens will make his indoor campaign debut in the 800 meters with junior James Hatch and freshmen Ryan Botha and Sam Vazquez joining him in the race. In the 3,000 meters freshman Josh Harper will be the lone UA runner.
Junior transfer Terry Gatson and senior Maurice Bridges will double as they compete in the 400-meter dash and the 4×400-meter relay. The relay will conclude the meet at 4:05 p.m., with Brown and Stevens completing the team as they seek an automatic qualifying time.
In field events action senior P.J. Brown and junior Jimmy Duke will compete in the pole vault, while junior Cory Oldham and freshman Greg Martin are entered in the high jump.
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