Cragg Earns SEC Athlete of the Week Honors
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For the second time in as many days senior All-American Alistair Cragg earned an individual accolade for breaking the NCAA 3,000-meter record. On Wednesday afternoon Cragg was named the Southeastern Conference Athlete of the Week for his phenomenal performance at the Tyson Foods Invitational.
“It was outstanding,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “When you knock six seconds off a record that’s a lot of great running. It’s like beating someone by 50 meters; it’s something special.”
On Feb. 14, Cragg ran the fastest time ever by a collegian when he set a new NCAA 3,000-meter record with an impressive time of 7:38.59. His time bettered the automatic qualifying standard by 17 seconds and the previous record by six seconds.
Cragg had established the collegiate record at the 2003 Boston Indoor Games with a 7:45.22, but lost it when Michigan’s Nick Willis clocked a time of 7:44.90, just two weeks ago on the same track in Boston, Mass. Besides breaking the collegiate record Cragg’s performance broke former Razorback great Frank O’Mara’s 13-year old Irish national record of 7:41.14. Cragg’s time was also the fourth fastest time run in the world this year.
On Tuesday Cragg was given his other award as Trackshark.com chose him as its national athlete of the week. This SEC honor marks the fourth time since Oct. 8, 2002, the four-time national champion has been named the league’s athlete of the week during his career at Arkansas.
Cragg and the rest of the Razorbacks will take advantage of having this weekend off while they prepare for the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 27-29. The University of Kentucky in Lexington will serve as the host for the event.
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