Carroll and Thomas Set New UA Records; Triple
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – During the collegiate portion of the Tyson Invitational on Friday night two Razorback athletes broke UA records, while improving their NCAA qualifying marks and three triple jumpers provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships.
“Thomas and Ahmad did great and I think Jaanus’ mark will get him in,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “Taylor and Ahmed got tangled up in the 800 and it was a really bad scene. Eleven people is too many in a heat for the 800. And Robbie is out for the rest of the season with a pulled achilles tendon. I thought Silverus was ready to run a good race, but then he had to run the last two and a half laps without a shoe after it got pulled off. It wasn’t a good night for us, but hopefully good things will come tomorrow. You have to take the good with the bad.”
Junior Michael Thomas set a new school record in the 60-meter hurdles. Thomas ran an automatic qualifying time of 7.69 to capture first place in the event and eclipse his own school record (7.74) set last year at the SEC Championships. Thomas qualified for the finals when he finished first in his heat with a provisional qualifying time of 7.76. With his top finish Thomas will be able to compete in the 60-meter hurdles on Saturday with the professional athletes.
“It wasn’t a perfect race,” Thomas said. “Today I wasn’t first out of the blocks, but I wasn’t the last. I didn’t panic trying to catch up to everybody. I did alright, but I know I can do better.”
Sophomore Ahmad Carroll also set a new UA record in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.67, as he finished third in the race and improved his NCAA provisional qualifying mark from 6.71. Carroll eclipsed his own school record (6.69) that he set last year at the OU Sooner Invitational. In the prelims Carroll ran a time of 6.77 to barely qualify for the finals after his blocks slipped at the start.
“I think I could have started better and reached more at the finish,” Carroll said. “There are definitely some things I need to work on, but I got a personal best. I just wanted to run fast.”
Junior Cedric Cobbs also competed in the 60-meter dash and ran a time of 7.12, but was unable to qualify for the finals.
The Razorbacks’ trio of triple jumpers all posted NCAA provisional qualifying marks in the finals of the event. Junior transfer Jaanus Uudmae improved his previous provisional qualifying standard of 51-7.25 and finished third with a jump of 52-6.00, junior Maurice Robinson came in eighth (51-7.75) and senior Richard Smith was right behind in ninth with 51-6.25.
The Razorbacks were hoping to do well in the 800 meters, but struggled after sophomore Michael Taylor fell during the first heat and junior Robbie Stevens had to drop out of the second heat due to an injury. Sophomores James Hatch and Said Ahmed were able to cross the line in seventh (1:50.86) and ninth (1:51.27), respectively. Taylor finished the race after his fall and posted a time of 2:06.95.
Sophomore transfer Phillip Aagaard was the Hogs’ top finisher in the mile run when he crossed the line in 11th with a time of 4:12.37. Senior Chad Grundy was 16th (4:15.88) and junior Silverus Kimeli finished in 17th (4:16.06) after loosing his shoe in the last 400 meters of the race.
Two Arkansas athletes ran in the 3,000 meters. Freshman Luis Bordes crossed the line in sixth with a career-best time of 8:29.35 and senior Patrick Thomas finished 10th (8:38.11).
In the prelims of the 60-meter hurdles junior Tom Crowder came in 27th (8.44), and freshmen David Wittenmyer and Brad Dittoe finished 30th (8.64) and 31st (8.85), respectively.
In the men’s 400-meter dash junior Maurice Bridges came in 16th with a season-best time of 48.30. Senior Josh Landreth was next in 19th place with a time of 48.49. Freshman David Wittenmyer came in 24th (48.81), sophomore Chason Pompey was 29th (49.18) and freshman Brad Dittoe finished 31st (49.39).
In the field events sophomore Jonathan Reeves finished sixth with a throw of 53-5.00 in the shot put. In the pole vault junior P.J. Brown cleared a height of 16-4.75 to come in fifth and sophomore Jimmy Duke finished 14th with a career-best height of 15-7.00. Junior Tom Crowder finished fourth in the long jump with a season-best mark of 23-5.50.
The Hogs will take to the track again on Saturday for USA Track and Field’s Golden Spike Tour. Events with the professional athletes will start at 5 p.m. with the men’s 5,000-meter run and end with the finals of the much-anticipated men’s 60-meter dash at 7:15 p.m.
A corps of Razorback distance runners will see action in the 5,000-meter race. Senior Daniel Lincoln, junior and defending NCAA 5,000 meter champion Alistair Cragg, junior Westley Alkin, and sophomore Jason Sandfort all hope to dominate in the event.
Carroll, UA’s record holder in the 60-meter dash, will have the opportunity to go head-to-head against some of the world’s fastest men in the event. Maurice Greene, the current world-record holder with a time of 6.39 will be competing in the event.
In the men’s long jump Smith and Ramon Washington will be competing against Miguel Pate, the 2002 USA Indoor champion and Savante Stringfellow, an Olympic silver medalist.
Junior Chris Mulvaney will represent the Hogs in the always-popular mile race. He will run against former Arkansas standouts Graham Hood, Seneca Lassiter and James Karanu.
Ahmed will run in the 800 meters. Last year at the NCAA Indoor Championships Ahmed finished third in the event. He will see tough competition from other talented middle distance runners, including former two-time NCAA Indoor 800-meter champion and two-time U.S. Outdoor 800-meter champion, David Krummenacker.
Arkansas’ distance medley relay team of Landreth, Kimeli, Hatch and Taylor will run against Southeastern Conference foes Kentucky and Florida, along with SMU and Indiana.
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