FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Senior Eric Brown made the most of his homecoming on Friday night as the Razorback set a new school record in the javelin at the Kansas Relays in Lawrence, Kan.
Brown, the No. 1-ranked javelin thrower in the nation, blistered his previous school record by more than seven feet in claiming top collegiate honors with a throw of 256-3. Brown’s mark was the best in the nation this season and bettered his previous school record of 248-5 set last season at the John McDonnell Invitational in Fayetteville.
“It was a good place to be today,” Brown said. “It was great to be back in front of my hometown family and friends. I think that gave me an edge. I knew I was on before I even started. Everything felt good today.”
The Baldwin City, Kan., native finished second overall after making a serious run at former two-time NCAA champion and professional Scott Russell. Russell, a former star at the University of Kansas, won the invitational event with a throw of 258-2.
“Scott was a role model of mine when I first got started,” Brown said. “I watched him when I started to throw. He was bigger than life to me. He was great at KU and then to watch him go on to do so much was fantastic. It was a thrill to compete with him head to head today. He pushed me and hopefully I pushed him.”
Brown put himself in prime position to win yet another Southeastern Conference Field Athlete of the Week award. The Razorback senior has garnered the honor in each of the past two weeks after stellar performances at both the Texas Relays and the Mt. SAC Relays.
Brown’s appearance at the Kansas Relays was only made possible by a rare exception from the senior’s legendary coach. Arkansas head coach John McDonnell allowed Brown to compete at the Kansas Relays, while, the rest of the Razorback squad headed to Fort Worth, Texas, to compete at the TCU Invitational on Saturday. McDonnell says he made the exception to reward the hard work and dedication of the top javelin thrower in UA history.
“I was very appreciative that Coach McDonnell let me come to the Kansas Relays,” McDonnell said. “It doesn’t happen very often that a guy gets to go somewhere by himself to compete while the rest of the team goes to another meet. I’m very thankful he gave me this opportunity to come home. It was a great night.”
Brown will re-join his teammates next weekend at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pa. The senior will get another homecoming of sorts in three weeks when Arkansas hosts the 2006 SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the new John McDonnell Field. The conference meet is set for May 11-14.