Jackson Sets New School Record; Two More Razor
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A school record fell in the 60-meter hurdles and the Razorbacks added a pair of provisional qualifiers as Arkansas kicked off action in the 3rd annual Tyson Invitational at the Randal Tyson Center on Friday night.
Sophomore Eddie Jackson provided one of the top UA performances of the day when he eclipsed his own school record in the 60-meter hurdle preliminaries with a time of 7.82. Jackson bested the UA record time of 7.84 he set late last season. In the process, Jackson qualified for the 60-meter hurdles finals to be held on Saturday and just missed the NCAA automatic qualifying standard.
“The thing about Eddie is that he is a competitor,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “You can’t teach that and you can’t coach that. I saw that halfway through his freshman year. He came out and broke the school record. I think he will have a good chance to going even faster in the race tomorrow.”
Jackson joined the track and field squad in January after playing cornerback for the Razorback football team in the fall. Despite the limited training time, Jackson has come out of the blocks blazing in the indoor season.
“I’m amazed, Arkansas sprints and hurdles coach Doug Williamson said. “The one difference is that he is much stronger than he was one year ago. That is a credit to the strength program. Once he gets his track legs, it’s hard to say how fast he is going to run this year. It looks like he is going to be an automatic qualifier and a finalist at the NCAA meet. That is a nice surprise at this point.”
Freshman Michael Taylor also made an impressive home debut in the 800. Taylor won the unseeded 800 meters in a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:49.59. The Portage, Ind., native joined teammate Chris Mulvaney as provisional qualifiers in the event.
“It was a great race,” McDonnell said. “I expected him to do what he did. He is a very talented young man. If he keeps his head straight, he has a very bright future. I think he is going to run faster. I think he has a chance to qualify in the mile as well.
Three other Razorbacks took to the track in the 800 with junior Chad Grundy (1:55.72), sophomore William Porr (1:55.83) and sophomore Kyle Cleveland (1:56.90) finishing 23rd, 27th and 32nd, respectively.
Arkansas earned a second provisional qualifier in the mile when James Hatch posted a time of 4:02.39. Hatch is the third Razorback to qualify in the mile this season. Senior Dirk Heinze earned an automatic time in the SEC Regional Meet while Mulvaney tallied a provisional split at the Missouri Southern Invitational. Primarily an 800-meter runner, Hatch made his mile debut on Friday night.
“It was exciting to see him do that,” McDonnell said. “People said that he’s never run a mile in his life, but I expected him to do something like that. I told him last week, I’ve known marathon runners that have gone to the Olympics that had never run it before and win on the first attempt. I told him that is what I want you to do. I just want you to get in there relax and run. That is the fastest time of any kid I’ve had that hadn’t run a mile before.”
Sophomore Westley Alkin narrowly missed a provisional qualifying time in the unseeded 3,000 meters with a time of 8:11.76. Alkin finished third and was one of three Razorbacks in the top 10 in the event. Sophomore Fernando Cabada crossed the line in 8:18.43 to secure fifth while junior Patrick Thomas finished ninth in 8:24.05. Freshman Zack Sartori (8:47.75) rounded out the UA finishers with a 21st-place finish
“I was pleased with Westley,” McDonnell said. “He needed that. Westley had a mediocre cross country season for him. That was a nice breakthrough for him. All of those kids ran well in the 3,000.”
The Hogs weren’t as fortunate in the 60-meter dash. Freshman Ahmad Carroll false started in the prelims and was disqualified. Sophomore Fred Talley had his starting blocks slip at the gun causing a slow start. Sophomore Lawrence Richardson finished 23rd after posting a time of 6.97.
“The only thing that was disappointing was that Ahmad false started in the 60 and Fred had the blocks slip out from under him,” McDonnell said. “I just wanted to Ahmad to get another time. I guess for Fred we will just have to wait another week. A lot of times when that happens they stop the race. They should have in that case, but we will just have to wait for the next one.”
Senior Sam Glover returned to the track in the 200-meter dash. Glover came in 11th place with a time of 21.56. Richardson placed 23rd after running a time of 21.93.
Arkansas also competed in three field events on Friday. Junior Ramon Washington qualified for the finals in the long jump and finished ninth with a leap of 24-1.50.
Freshman Cory Oldham cleared 6-8.75 in the high jump to finish 10th while freshman Matt Rosebery placed 13th after clearing 6-6.75.
A pair of Hogs competed in the pole vault with sophomore Blake Jorgensen leading the way with an eighth-place finish. Jorgensen cleared 14-11.0 while teammate P.J. Brown failed to clear his opening height.
Arkansas will take to the track again on Saturday in the second day of the Tyson Invitational. The Hogs will compete against some of the nation’s top collegiate and professional talent. Field events are slated to begin at 5 p.m. with running events set to start at 6 p.m.
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