FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Nkosinza Balumbu became the first Razorback to punch his ticket to the NCAA Championships while the DMR finished third on day two of the Tyson Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
Balumbu finished fourth in the championship triple jump, third among collegians, with an NCAA automatic-qualifying mark of 53-2.25. The newly elected captain of the 2008 Razorbacks made the leap on his third attempt in the prelims but couldn’t best it in the finals.
“This is the first automatic qualifier for the team, so I’m happy with that,” Balumbu said. “My teammates nominated me captain of the team this week so it’s fitting that I’m the first to get an automatic mark. I felt like I had to break the ice for the team. I think after my teammates see my performance, the ball can start rolling.”
The distance medley relay started off strong with Duncan Phillips’ 1,200-meter leg. He clocked a split of 2:55.8 and handed to Chris Bilbrew for the 400 meters. Bilbrew flew around the track battling with LSU. Clocking a 46.8 split, he handed off to Alex McClary for the 800 meters. Alex split 1:49.6 and handed to Andy McClary for the mile anchor leg. Andy ran a 4:07 mile to finish off the group’s time of 9:39.63 and third-place finish. The time is a provisional qualifier but is not the season best. Texas won the event with a world-leading time of 9:25.97.
“It’s just a matter of getting it done and we’re not getting it done,” head coach John McDonnell said. “We don’t want it bad enough that’s all. It’s as simple as that. If anybody ran the qualifying time, I thought we would have qualified, but Texas ran an awesome race. LSU was there and if we would have stayed with them, it was set up for us. The first two legs were good but after that, they didn’t dig down and fight. We’re not going to try to qualify again; we’ve run it often enough.”
Spencer McCorkel finished eighth in the championship pole vault with a clearance of 17-0. Daniel LaCava finished fifth in the championship 800 meters with a time of 1:53.39. James Strang ran an 8:06.04 3,000 meters to finish fourth in the invitational event.
In the 200-meter prelims, J-Mee Samuels won his heat and finished sixth overall. He clocked a 21.26, just .03 off the provisional qualification, to advance to the finals but opted not to compete. Mychael Stewart also won his heat of the 200 prelims and clocked a personal-best 21.65. He finished 20th overall.
ESPN will be showing Friday night’s events tape delayed Sunday, February 17, 4-6 p.m. Live results can be found at www.Hogwired.com.
For complete details of the Tyson Invitational, visit
www.hogwired.com or www.tysoninvitational.org.
Download: Tyson Final – HTML.pdf