Cragg Wins National Individual Crown; Hogs in
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Sophomore Alistair Cragg captured an individual national championship in the 5,000-meter run and Arkansas scored 21 points to put itself in position to make a run at a 37th national team title in day one of the 2002 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
The Razorbacks earned 19 points in the 5,000 and two points in the 60-meter hurdles on Friday. Arkansas is in second place after day one trailing only Southeastern Conference rival Alabama (26). Tennessee (20), Colorado (14) and Mississippi State (13) round out the top five teams after the first day of competition.
Cragg became the first Razorback to win the NCAA 5,000 since Jason Bunston in 1994 and his time of 13:49.80 was the third fastest time recorded in the world this year. Junior Daniel Lincoln finished in fourth place with a career best time of 13:57.71 and freshman Jason Sandfort finished fifth with a time of 14:00.65.
“Those guys really pulled through for us; we needed that in the 5,000,” Arkansas Head Coach John McDonnell said. “If Tennessee and Alabama do what they are supposed to do, it is going to be a challenge.”
Freshman Said Ahmed was the only Razorback to qualify for the finals in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:49.41. Sophomore Robbie Stevens finished 10th with a time of 1:49.57 and freshman Michael Taylor finished 16th in a time of 1:54.60.
“We have some good people in the 800, but I think we about a year away in experience,” McDonnell said. “Especially our freshman; they had a lot of pressure on them.”
In the prelims of the 60-meter hurdles sophomore Michael Thomas tied his career best and the UA school record with a time of 7.74 and qualified for the finals. Thomas finished seventh (7.80) in the finals earning the Hogs two points. Junior Eddie Jackson finished with a time of 7.92 and failed to qualify for the 60-meter hurdle final.
In a very physical second heat during the prelims of the mile sophomore Chris Mulvaney finished 10th and qualified for the finals. His preliminary time was 4:02.69. The finals will be held on Saturday at 6:15 p.m.
“Chris is going to do well tomorrow,” McDonnell said. “We are really counting on him.”
The final day of competition will begin with the men’s weight throw starting at 2 p.m. in the Walker Pavilion and the women’s high jump at 3:45 p.m. at the Tyson Track Center. Running event finals will get underway at 6:05 p.m. with the women’s mile run.
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