EUGENE, Ore. – The 200- and 1,500-meter races were stellar events for Arkansas Razorback track and field on day six of the U.S. Olympic Trials at Oregon’s Hayward Field on Friday.
J-Mee Samuels, Tyson Gay and Wallace Spearmon all advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinals in the 200 meters. Gay (20.43) and Spearmon (20.81) automatically advanced to the next round by winning their respective heats. Samuels advanced on time (21.21) and was the final athlete accepted in the quarterfinals’ 24-man field.
“That race felt good,” Gay said. “I just needed that first run to get rid of the cobwebs. It felt pretty good and relaxing. That is about the time I wanted to run. My hip is a little bit sore but that is about it. Four days of rest was enough.”
“It was pretty easy today,” Spearmon said. “Overall, I’m just trying to get through the rounds as easy as possible. It was a good workout and I’m just going to come out and try to win this 200-meter race.”
Two more Razorbacks advanced Friday night. Andy McClary and Said Ahmed both qualified for Sunday’s finals in the 1,500 meters by finishing in the top six in their semifinal heats. McClary clocked a time of 3:44.29 while Ahmed ran a 3:41.05.
“We were going at such a pedestrian pace,” McClary said. “Coach (McDonnell) warned me about making any stupid moves. I’ve wasted so much energy trying to make big moves and jostling for position when all I need to do is get in there from the start and keep with the pack. Every time I got the inkling to make a move, I just tried to stay steady and keep my rhythm going. I just tried to stay with the lead pack and not elbow anyone or doing anything that could get me disqualified. It worked out really well for me considering what a horrible race I had last night (in the quarterfinals). I’m happy I advanced to the finals. That’s all I was trying to do tonight. I feel awesome right now and I feel like I barely broke a sweat out there.”
“It feels good to get through, because with 100 meters left I could see the top six runners were safe,” Ahmed said. “Right now I feel tired and my legs hurt. Both my hamstrings are really sore and I was here early this morning getting ice on them. Going into the finals, experience counts for a lot. In 2004 I dove across the finish line to make the finals. I had scratches on my chest and face, but this year I came out clean.”
Eric Brown advanced to Sunday’s finals in the javelin. He marked a toss of 230-7 and fini9shed 12th in the prelims. He was the final athlete to advance to the finals.
“I think everyone was a little tight, which is expected in the prelims,” Brown said. “The conditions were perfect out there so there is no excuse in that. I think once a few guys got some good throws off, everyone else started catching on. I just tried to hang on with my first throw. I’m going to keep my preparation the same for Sunday’s finals and do the things I need to do to throw well.”
Battling through a sore heel, Nkosinza Balumbu finished 11th in his flight and 21st overall in the triple jump with his best mark of the day measuring 51-0. Balumbu ends his junior season with the 2008 NCAA Indoor and 2008 NCAA Mideast Regional titles, as a five-time All-American, a five-time SEC Champion and a six-time All-SEC performer.
Seth Summerside finished 25th in the 10,000 meters with a time of 30:52.33.
For complete results, an updated list of entries and a television schedule from the U.S. Olympic Trials, visit www.usatf.org. For information on the Razorbacks at the Olympic Trials, visit www.hogwired.com.