FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Alain Bailey highlighted day two of competition for the Razorbacks at the SEC Championships with his title win in the long jump and a bronze finish in the high jump. Bailey scored 16 points to propel Arkansas to first place in the team standings with a total of 46 points. The Hogs currently edge out Florida in second place with 28 points.
“That was a very classy field in the 3,000 meters,” head coach John McDonnell said. “We dropped some points in the high jump and the long jump but we made them up here. We didn’t sit around and we went out there to run. There was a lot of speed in the field and we tried to take some of the speed out of it.”
“With all of our qualifiers, we have a good chance,” McDonnell said. “We are in there but there are a lot of good teams. We need to come out here tomorrow and do the same thing, compete.”
No stranger to competing in two events at once, Bailey again ran back and forth between the long and high jumps. At the long jump, he marked three legal jumps in the prelims and advanced to the finals with a best of 25-0.5. In the finals, he bettered his mark to his winning jump of 25-6.25. In his previous two SEC Championships performances, he twice earned runner-up honors in the long jump, missing out on the victories by .25 inches in both occasions.
“I’m happy for (Bailey) in the long jump,” McDonnell said. “It was a clutch performance. It was important for him to get that victory. We thought he would win the high jump but it is tough running back and forth. And he had to take all six jumps in the long jump.”
Bailey opened the high jump at 6-8 with a clearance on his first attempt. He passed the next bar and then cleared 6-10.25 on his first attempt. He missed all three attempts at 6-11.5. His bronze finish matches two previous bronze finishes in the high jump at the 2007 SEC Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
“I didn’t have a really good day because I wasn’t touching the board (in the long jump),” Bailey said. “I had one jump touch the board and the was the winning jump. I took five jumps and came over to the high jump feeling tired. The points are good and we needed them. I was more confident in winning the high jump then winning the long jump.”
In true Arkansas fashion, the 3,000 meters gave the Hogs 19 points for their team total. Shawn Forrest took the race out and paced four of his teammates to scoring spots.
Tyler Hill was the first Hog to cross the line in a time of 7:59.81, a six-second personal best and an NCAA provisional time. He earned eight points and the third All-SEC honor of his career. After battling with the lead pack for most of the race, Hill made a strong move at the bell lap but couldn’t out kick eventual race winner John Kosgei of LSU (7:57.76).
“I’m extremely happy with tonight’s race,” Hill said. “I sat back and let the race come to me. I found a little something extra at the end. I was kind of surprised. I knew my teammates were right behind me so that’s what made me most excited at the end of the race. The 3K was really stacked and it was important for us to do well and score some points for the team.”
Chris Barnicle was third overall and second for the Hogs with a time of 8:03.29, good for six points and an NCAA provisional time. His clocking is also a personal best. James Strang crossed the finish line in sixth place. His time of 8:07.24 earned three points. Daniel LaCava was the final Razorback scorer in seventh place with his time of 8:13.72.
“Shawn Forrest likes to lead so I told him to lead if that’s what he wanted,” McDonnell said. “He led at a pretty good pace until some guys passed him. Tyler Hill did a tremendous job. This semester he has been doing a lot of traveling for medical school interviews. Sometimes he’s gone for days at a time so I really appreciate what he did.”
Forrest finished 12th with a time of 8:24.59. Scott MacPherson was the final Hog to cross the line in a time of 8:25.43.
Mychael Stewart finished fifth in the long jump with a leap of 24-11.75. Daniel Quinn earned a sixth-place finish with his jump of 24-11.75. Nkosinza Balumbu was just out of scoring range in 10th place (23-11.75) but set a personal best in the event.
Brent Rosson also picked up four key points for the Hogs in the high jump. He finished fifth with a clearance of 6-8.
Arkansas found four big qualifiers for the finals of the mile, including freshmen Michael Chinchar and Duncan Phillips. Along with Micky Corbin and Andy McClary, all four will run in Sunday’s finals at 1:25 p.m.
Cobrin won the first heat of the mile with a time of 4:08.80 and clocked the fourth-fastest prelim time. Holding a season best of 4:00.87, he led for most of the race and made a big move on the bell lap. Phillips, battling from the back of the pack, went with him and stayed in the top three to automatically advance to the finals. Phillips’ time of 4:09.40 was good for third in his heat and the seventh-fastest prelim time.
“We got the job done,” Cobrin said. “We did what we needed to do to qualify for the finals. We had a really slow first 1,000 meters so I was surprised by how fast we finished and what my time was. It’s great to see all of us qualify for the finals. I hope it ignites a fire under the rest of the team.”
In heat two of the mile, McClary battled among the top four with Chinchar at the back of the pack. McClary stayed strong to finish second in his heat and second overall with a time of 4:07.24. Chinchar made a late surge to the line to clock a 4:10.70, good for fifth in his heat and the ninth-fastest prelim time.
“Chinchar did a great job,” McDonnell said. “On paper, he wasn’t good enough to get in but he did. It’s great to have four guys in the final.”
In the 60-meter prelims, J-Mee Samuels and Mychael Stewart both advanced to Sunday’s finals. Samuels, running in heat four, clocked a time of 6.76 to earn his trip to the finals. He finished second in his heat and seventh overall. Stewart, in his first of three events on the day, finished third in his heat and eighth overall with a time of 6.76.
Samuels also qualified for the finals in the 200 meters. He finished second in his heat and ninth overall with a prelim time of 21.25.
Chris Bilbrew advanced to Sunday’s finals of the 800 meters with a time of 1:53.02 in the prelims. He finished fourth in his heat and eighth overall to advance. Alex McClary was unable to advance to the finals after clocking a time of 1:53.40. He finished 11th overall and sixth in his heat.
Sunday’s events will begin at 12:30 p.m. for the Hogs with Spencer McCorkel in the pole vault. The final event, the 4×400-meter relay, is scheduled for 4 p.m.
For complete details of the SEC Championships, visit www.hogwired.com.
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