Complete Team Ready to Compete at Texas Relays
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – It’s been a month since top-ranked Arkansas claimed the NCAA Indoor Championship, so it’s no surprise that the Razorbacks are more than ready to kick off the 2005 outdoor campaign. A full squad will travel to Austin, Texas to open the outdoor season with the 78th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on April 6-9.
In 2004 Arkansas picked up three relay titles over the weekend and this year the Hogs have their sights set on grabbing more as they are entered in five different relays. The most UA has ever been able to win at the Texas Relays is three. The Razorbacks have accomplished that feat on seven different occasions (1983, 85, 87, 95, 2002, 03 and 04).
Junior Jimmy Duke will be the first Hog to compete when the decathlon begins on Wednesday and concludes on Thursday.
On Thursday a relay pool that includes seniors Terry Gatson and James Hatch, junior Harun Iman and sophomores Adam Perkins and Brian Roe will prepare to defend UA’s title in the 4×800-meter relay. Junior Brad Dittoe and David Wittenmyer will take to the track for the 400-meter hurdles and juniors Abdi Dubed and Matt Gunn will represent Arkansas in the 5,000 meters. The only field event taking place on Thursday is the hammer throw with junior two-sport athlete Tony Ugoh.
On Friday relays will highlight the day, with Hogs lining up to run in the sprint medley and 4×1,500-meter relay. Arkansas will aim to win its seventh-straight 4×1,500-meter relay title with possible runners including senior Jason Sandfort, juniors Josphat Boit and Marc Rodrigues, sophomore Peter Kosgei and freshman Shawn Forrest.
The SMR will look to make a strong impression with a pool that consists of Gatson, Hatch, senior Omar Brown, sophomore Wallace Spearmon Jr. and freshman Michael Grant, but a final list of participating athletes will be determined the day of competition.
Open running events include the 100-meter dash with Grant and sophomore Creighton Kiper and junior Jose Campos will run in his first 3,000-meter steeplechase as a Razorback. Campos was the 2003 national junior college steeplechase champion and is looking forward to returning to this favored event.
Several field events are also scheduled for Friday. Senior Jaanus Uudmae and sophomore Greg Martin will begin the day in the long jump, while freshman Chessly Johnson will see action in the triple jump. Ugoh is doubling up for the weekend and will return to throw the discus.
On Saturday senior Tyson Gay will make his first appearance since he injured his hamstring at the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 11. He will handle a leg of the 4×400-meter relay, along with Brown, Gatson and Spearmon.
The distance medley relay is also slated for Saturday afternoon. Last year UA captured the DMR crown for the 11th time in 20 years and fans could see Hatch, Gatson, Perkins, Iman, Roe or Wittenmyer passing the baton.
Field athletes will be busy again on Saturday as six Razorbacks are entered in their respective events. Junior Eric Brown is returning to the Texas Relays as the defending champion in the javelin. Senior Cory Oldham, Martin and freshman Brent Rosson will compete in the high jump, while Uudmae will represent UA in the triple jump. P.J. Brown is in his final season of eligibility and will compete in the pole vault.
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