Former Razorbacks Make World Championship Team
BY ANDRES FOCIL
CARSON, Calif. – The University of Arkansas will have a strong contingent at the 2005 IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Helsinki, Finland after five former Razorback athletes gained positions on their respective countries’ teams during a weekend of national competition.
Tyson Gay, now representing adidas, earned his spot on America’s World Championship team when he finished in second place in the 200-meter dash at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Gay posted a time of 20.06 against a world-class field of runners, including two Olympic gold medalists. Justin Gatlin took the tape with a clocking of 20.04, while Shawn Crawford grabbed third place with a time of 20.12. As the top-three finishers they will go on to represent the United States at the World Championship meet on August 6-14.
“I didn’t know whether I had caught Shawn at the end, but I was just happy making the team,” Gay said. “My coach and I had a strategy to run only the 200 here instead of doubling, but when I saw how all the young guys did so well in the 100 I might have liked to have run that, but I’m just glad to be on the team.”
Wallace Spearmon had high hopes of making the team in the 200 meters as he carried the world’s top time (19.91) into the finals. Unfortunately the Fayetteville, Ark., native was nipped at the line and came in fourth place. Spearmon turned in a time of 20.16, but will still go to the World Championships and join Gay as a member of the 4×100-meter relay pool.
“Tyson did what he needed to do and he finished in the top three,” Arkansas sprints coach Lance Brauman said. “Wallace didn’t run the turn as well as he could have and he just didn’t see Shawn Crawford on the outside lane. It’s bittersweet when you have two guys finish second and fourth. You’re happy and sad at the same time.”
Omar Brown will also compete at the World Championships after he posted a third-place performance in the 200 meters at the Jamaican National Championships. Brown came close to matching his personal best time (20.47) when he recorded a time of 20.49.
Former UA All-American and 2004 Olympic silver medalist, Matt Hemingway captured the high jump title with a clearance of 7-5.25. He passed on the opening height (6-11.50) and cleared on his first attempt through the next three progressions, securing him the gold medal. This was Hemingway’s first outdoor win after he claimed top honors during the 2000 indoor season.
Daniel Lincoln was the first Razorback to earn a spot on America’s roster when he captured his second-straight 3,000-meter steeplechase championship with a stadium record time on Saturday.
This year’s world championship meet will enjoy record television coverage. In total, more than 70 hours of event coverage will be available to U.S. fans via national broadcast on the PAX national television network, regionally through Comcast and online via the WCSN Web site. Detailed times and dates will become available later.
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