EUGENE, Ore. – Arkansas Razorback senior Nkosinza Balumbu had a banner day at the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore. on Thursday.
In his last competition in an Arkansas uniform, Balumbu finished one spot out of qualifying for the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany in the triple jump. He finished fourth with a personal-best jump of 54-10.25. His jump ranks ninth on Arkansas’ all-time list.
Balumbu was sitting third going into the last round of jumps. Former LSU Tiger Walter Davis passed Balumbu on his final attempt with a jump of 55-3.
“This was really fun,” Balumbu said. “Fun was my priority today. I was the underdog today. I have had a long season of underachieving and I’m so happy to get a personal best. I told myself if I PR’d, I would walk away happy and I am. I was one spot away from qualifying for the World Championships. I need to go to another meet to get the “A” standard (for the World Championships).”
Junior Dorian Ulrey won his prelim heat of the 1,500 meters in dramatic fashion. Making a move with about 150 meters to go, he soared to the lead to take the tape. Wanting redemption after a disappointing finish at the NCAA Championships because of illness, he automatically advanced to Sunday’s finals with a time of 3:41.42.
“I felt really relaxed,” Ulrey said. “It just felt really good. The work has been done; I knew that I only had to rely on the last 200 meters. When I moved, I didn’t feel like I had another gear but out of nowhere I just kind of exploded with about 150 to go.”
“The track was spectacular,” Ulrey said. “Being a distance runner, everybody grows up and hears about Steve Prefontaine, Bill Bowerman and Hayward Field. The track is phenomenal and the fans are great. The stadium and the meet have lived up to everything I thought it would be.”
Senior Andy McClary also ran the prelims of the 1,500 meters Thursday. In his final race as a Razorback, he finished 24th overall with a time of 3:45.18. He concludes his career as a 2008 NCAA Indoor All-American and a two-time All-SEC honoree.
Senior J-Mee Samuels competed in the opening round of the 100 meters. He finished 22nd with a time of 10.23 and wind reading of 3.7. He is scheduled to run the opening round of the 200 meters on Saturday.
Senior Alex McClary competed in the opening round of the 800 meters. He finished 23rd with a time of 1:49.30. He has now completed his Razorback career. He concludes as a four-time SEC Champion, a 2009 NCAA Indoor All-American, a four-time All-SEC honoree and the Arkansas record holder as the 1,200-meter leg of the distance medley relay (9:28.35).
Sophomore Chris Bilbrew also ran the first round of the 800 meters. He finished 25th overall with his time of 1:49.69.
After a long end to a season that included 18,000 meters of racing at the SEC Championships, the SEC steeplechase title and an All-America honor, Scott MacPherson’s magical collegiate season came to an end Thursday. In the 3,000-meter steeplechase prelims, he finished 19th with a time of 8:58.41. MacPherson will return in 2010 with an indoor season remaining for eligibility.
Senior James Strang concluded his Razorback career on Thursday. Running in the 10,000 meters, he finished 18th overall and fourth among collegians with a time of 29:17.96. He closes as a two-time All-American and the 2008 SEC Outdoor 5,000-meter Champion during his time at Arkansas.
In alumni action, Tyson Gay won the opening round of the 100 meters. He clocked a 3.4 wind-aided 9.75. He will not run in Friday’s semifinal as he is still recovering from last year’s hamstring injury and a knee injury from earlier in the year. As the defending World Champion, Gay has an automatic spot in both the 100 meters and the 200 meters at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany.
Former Razorback and five-time All-American Adam Perkins also competed in the prelims of the 1,500 meters. He finished 30th with a time of 3:47.01.
Live results can be found at flashresults.com. The USA Championships will be televised on the following dates: June 26, live on ESPN from 7-9 p.m.; June 27: live/tape on ESPN from 6:30-8:30 p.m.; June 28: live on NBC from 3-5 p.m. (all times Central).
For a complete schedule of events, start lists, results and more information, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com or USATF.org.