Hogs Head Into Final Stretch after Drake Relay
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After competing in its fifth track meet of the season this past weekend at the Drake Relays, the University of Arkansas track and field squad will look ahead to the Southeastern Conference Championships in Columbia, South Carolina, May 11-13.
The Hogs have four automatic and nine provisional qualifiers who could become the Razorbacks that compete at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., May 30-June 2. If the Hogs do not claim the outdoor national title, it will be the first time since the 1989-90 season that the Razorbacks have not brought home two of the three (cross country, indoor and outdoor) national titles in a year.
In two weeks, the Hogs will set out to claim their 16th consecutive SEC title. If the Razorbacks claim the outdoor SEC title, the Hogs will earn their fifth-straight conference triple crown. Since the Hogs entered the SEC in 1992, the Razorbacks have taken every conference cross country and track and field title except for the 1996 indoor title claimed by Tennessee.
The No. 3-ranked Hogs will see some stiff competition at the SEC Championships with six other conference opponents ranked in the top 10 of last week’s Trackwire top 25. This year’s indoor national champions, LSU, is the only school that outranks Arkansas as they have been picked as the top team in the country all season.
Senior Kenny Evans became the first automatic qualifier for the Hogs when he took first place at the Texas Relays clearing 7-4.50 in a mark that led the country at the time. At the Mount San Antonio College Relays, the Hogs added the other three provisional qualifiers with sophomore Daniel Lincoln running 8:39.19 in the steeplechase, senior Murray Link running 28:48.00 in the 10,000-meter run and sophomore Eddie Jackson running 13.70 in the 110-meter hurdles.
Junior Sam Glover ran 50.32 in the prelims of the 400-meter hurdles at the Drake Relays to improve on his already provisional qualifying mark that he earned at the Mt. SAC relays. Another hurdler, senior Sean Lightfoot qualified running 13.90 in the 110-meter hurdles at Mt. SAC. Field event Hogs that have met the provisional mark are Lavar Miller in the high jump clearing 7-3.75 in the first meet of the season and sophomore Richard Smith who jumped 25-5.50 at the John McDonnell Invitational.
Lincoln is also a provisional qualifier in the 1,500-meter run finishing in 3:43.66 at the John McDonnell Invitational where in the same race teammate Ryan Travis ran 3:42.15 also qualified. Senior Sharif Karie has met the provisional standard in two events running 14:04.57 in the 5,000-meters at the John McDonnell Invitational and 29:05.49 in the 10,000 meters at Mt. SAC.
Joining in the action at Mt. SAC was junior Dirk Heinze who ran the 800-meters in 1:48.24 also improving on his provisional mark from the John McDonnell Invitational.
The Hogs will now have a short break before setting out to defend their SEC title in mid-May.
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