FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Friday night’s Arkansas Invitational served as a good tune-up for the Razorbacks as they came away with three NCAA provisional qualifiers at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
“We didn’t have anything spectacular, but we had a lot of guys show promise,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “We’re going in the right direction.”
In the 3,000 meters former UA standout Alistair Cragg served as a rabbit, established a solid pace and stepped off the track at 2,000 meters. Senior Josphat Boit took over and helped lead the charge as he won the race in a provisional time of 7:58.91, just shy of the automatic time of 7:55.00. Junior Peter Kosgei was next in second place with a provisional clocking of 8:00.51.
Freshman Chris Barnicle helped make it a sweep when he finished third (8:11.24) and sophomore Shawn Forrest came in sixth (8:14.11). In the unseeded section of the race held earlier in the day sophomore Jonathan Norris turned in a time of 8:23.62 for second place. It was the first indoor 3,000-meter race of his career after he fought injuries last year.
“The 3,000 meters was good, but it was a shame they fell a little short (of the automatic time) after Alistair (Cragg) dropped out,” McDonnell said. “Josphat Boit and Peter Kosgei were good and I thought Chris Barnicle ran a great race as a freshman.”
The triple jump was the other bright spot for the Hogs after true freshman Nkosinza Balumbu posted a provisional mark of 51-0.75 for second place, behind former Razorback All-American Jaanus Uudmae (52-8.75). Sophomore Chessly Johnson finished fourth (49-9.25) and sophomore Mychael Stewart was sixth (48-11.00).
Arkansas easily claimed first place in the distance medley relay with a time of 9:59.91, while Texas A&M was second with 10:07.52. Junior Brian Roe led the Hogs off with a 3:04 split and pulled UA into the lead for good, before he passed the baton to freshman Daniel LaCava. LaCava cruised around the track with a time of 1:54 and handed off to freshman Jeremy Dodson. Dodson clocked 49.0 as senior Seth Summerside took the anchor leg. Summerside turned in a split of 4:10 as he crossed the finish line.
The 800 meters was the next running event for the Razorbacks and senior David Wittenmyer was UA’s top finisher after he turned in a time of 1:53.30 for fifth place overall. LaCava took to the track again and finished with a time of 1:55.94.
A pair of Razorbacks ran in the mile, including freshman Scott MacPherson and senior Marc Rodrigues. Former standouts Cragg and Daniel Lincoln established a good speed for the group, with Lincoln taking the tape in 4:00.73. MacPherson gained third place with a time of 4:09.04, while Rodrigues was sixth (4:11.20).
The 60-meter dash was filled with Razorbacks, but Stewart was the only one who advanced to the finals. The Bentonville, Ark., native ran the sixth-fastest time overall when he recorded a career-best clocking of 6.89 in the fourth heat. In the finals he improved his time to 6.86 to finish in seventh place.
In the prelims freshmen Jeremy Dodson and Cedric Zellner registered performances of 6.97 and 7.05, respectively, out of the fifth heat. Zellner also competed in the 200-meter dash and clocked a time of 22.24.
The 4×400-meter relay was the final event of the night and the Razorbacks put together a time of 3:16.95 to win their heat. Dodson ran the opening leg with a time of 48.96 and Wittenmyer turned in a solid second leg with 48.69. Zellner handled the third leg in 48.83 and senior Brad Dittoe brought the team home in 50.09.
In order to prepare for the heptathlon senior Jimmy Duke was entered in three events. He posted a 36-0.25 mark in the shot put and then ran the 60-meter hurdles in a personal-best time of 8.95. In the pole vault he cleared 16-00.75 for fourth place.
In additional field events action junior Greg Martin finished third with a personal-best season opening high jump mark of 7-1.50. Sophomore Brent Rosson was next in fourth with a clearance of (6-7.50).
Redshirt freshman Daniel Quinn made his Arkansas debut in the long jump and came away with a mark of 22-3.50 for sixth place.
Arkansas will enjoy competing at home again next weekend when UA hosts the Razorback Invitational on Jan. 20-21.