Boit Wins 10K; Arkansas Sits in Second at SEC
BY ANDRES FOCIL
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Junior All-American Josphat Boit helped carry on Arkansas’ winning tradition in the 10,000 meters when he claimed the individual title with a Vanderbilt Track record time of 29:39.58. His performance helped guide two other UA runners to point-earning finishes, giving Arkansas 22 additional points for second place (26) through three events at the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Tennessee is first with 36 points and LSU is third with 16.
“For not having Shawn Forrest in the race and still getting 22 points I’m very happy,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell. “I’m happy for Marc (Rodrigues) too. He really stepped up and got us points we needed. This race has gotten a lot tougher on the conference level. I think it’s one of the best fields I’ve seen as a coach.”
The 10K was Boit’s first championship on the track after he captured the SEC cross country championship in the fall and he became the 13th Razorback in 14 years to win the 10K at the league meet. Boit was considered a favorite entering the race as he boasted the league’s top time of 28:07.27.
“I decided to take the lead when Jason (Sandfort) got away from the rest of the group and the pace got slower,” Boit said. “This race felt nice and easy. It was one of my goals this year to be an SEC champion during the outdoor season.”
Senior Jason Sandfort garnered runner-up honors with a time of 29:44.09 and junior Marc Rodrigues was fifth (30:25.65). Boit and Sandfort took turns sharing the lead until there were nine laps remaining. At that point Boit took the lead and never looked back.
Freshman Shawn Forrest was slated to run, but after suffering an infection in his mouth two days ago he was pulled out of the race.
In the decathlon junior Jimmy Duke began the day in seventh place with 3,391 points and ended up improving his standing to finish in fifth place with 6,683 points. Duke’s tally was a career-best performance and gave Arkansas its first four points for the meet.
In the 110-meter hurdles he registered a time of 16.39 for 689 points and the discus produced 612 points after he threw a personal-best 122-08. Duke cleared 15-7.00 in the pole vault, racking up 834 points and moving him up to fifth place. He maintained his position with the help of another personal-best that came in the javelin with a mark of 159-06 for 568 points. The 1,500 meters wrapped up the two-day competition and he crossed the finish line with a time of 4:55.04 for 589 points.
Two Razorbacks qualified to the finals of the 800 meters and in the process earned important NCAA regional qualifying times. Senior James Hatch and junior Harun Iman both ran season-best times as they finished second in their respective heats. Hatch’s performance of 1:47.98 was the second-fastest overall, while Iman’s clocking of 1:48.19 was the fourth-fastest overall.
Sophomore Brian Roe turned in a time of 1:50.31, but was unable to move on to the finals. Roe was already qualified for regionals with his performance (1:50.17) from the Mt. SAC Relays. Senior Said Ahmed was also in the race, but stepped off the track with about 250 meters remaining with a cramped hamstring.
The 200 meters also saw a pair of Hogs secure their spot in the finals on Sunday. Sophomore Wallace Spearmon Jr. and senior Tyson Gay had the top times and both finished first in their heats. Spearmon posted a Vanderbilt Track record time of 20.16 and Gay ran a season-best time of 20.30.
Freshman Michael Grant was unable to advance to the finals after he ran a season-best time of 21.28 and sophomore Creighton Kiper found himself in the same position with a time of 21.72.
In the 400-meter hurdles juniors Brad Dittoe and David Wittenmyer were both in the third heat and finished with times of 52.28 and 52.31, respectively. Even though both turned in season-best times they were unable to qualify to the finals.
On Saturday the Hogs will be very busy. Junior Tony Ugoh will throw the discus at 1 p.m., and the high jump will follow at 2 p.m., with senior Cory Oldham and sophomore Greg Martin. Martin will also compete in the long jump with senior Jaanus Uudmae at 5 p.m., and the pole vault will feature senior P.J. Brown and Duke at 6 p.m.
The running events will start at 7 p.m. with prelims of the 1,500 meters. Ahmed, junior Seth Summerside and sophomores Peter Kosgei and Adam Perkins will hope to make the finals an Arkansas dominated field. Senior Terry Gatson will be the only one to compete in the prelims of the 400 meters at 8 p.m.
Defending SEC Champion Gay, Spearmon, Kiper and Grant will line up again for the prelims of the 100-meter dash at 8:40 p.m. The finals of the steeplechase will conclude the evening at 9:10 p.m. Kosgei boasts the league’s top time, while Perkins and junior Jose Campos will also run in the event.
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