FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Daniel LaCava and Duncan Phillips clocked their first regional-qualifying times of the season in their respective events at the Arkansas Twilight on Friday at John McDonnell Field.
“We had a pretty good day,” head coach John McDonnell said. “I was happy for Daniel LaCava and Duncan Phillips. They both hit the regional-qualifying mark and that’s what we were looking for tonight. J-Mee Samuels had a pretty good meet as well. It’s finals week and everyone has been studying really hard so to come away with two new regional-qualifying marks, I’m happy with that.”
LaCava finished sixth in a packed 1,500-meter race that included numerous former All-Americans from around the nation and many of his current and former teammates. His time of 3:45.33, a personal best, qualifies him for the Mideast Regional Championships next month and ranks 10th in the SEC.
“That was my goal tonight, just to get the regional-qualifying time,” LaCava said. “I wasn’t happy with that place but I did what I needed to do to get to regionals. SECs are going to be really tough. I think we have one of the best conferences in the country for the 1,500 meters. There are probably 10 guys in our conference who could be All-Americans in the 1,500 meters so it was good to get a good time in here tonight going into that race.”
Phillips also clocked a personal best but his was in the 800 meters. Another packed event, Phillips also ran with numerous All-Americans and current and former Razorbacks. His time of 1:49.65 was good for a sixth-place finish and ranks ninth in the SEC, first among freshmen. He also holds the second-best 800-meter time run by a freshman in the nation this season.
“It was a decent race,” Phillips said. “I haven’t really done any 800-meter work yet so it was a good opener. I tightened up the last 100 meters but I just wanted to run under 1:50. It’s all up to Coach (McDonnell) but I wouldn’t mind running both events (800 and 1,500) at SECs and regionals. If he just wants me to run the 1,500 meters, that’s fine with me because one of my goals for the season was to win the 1,500 meters (at SECs) and if I have to sacrifice the 800 meters for that I will.”
J-Mee Samuels had a decent outing in the 100-meter dash. His time of 10.28 was good enough for the event win but doesn’t improve his season best of 10.12, clocked two weeks ago at the John McDonnell Invitational. He still ranks No. 3 in the nation in the 100 meters and No. 4 in the nation in the 200 meters (20.55).
Daniel Quinn won the long jump in a field of 16 competitors. His jump, a mark of 24-8.25, is a regional qualifier but does not improve on his season best of 25-4.5.
“I’m not worried that we didn’t run really fast because it’s finals and everyone has been studying really hard,” McDonnell said. “Finals will be over this week and they’ll have a whole week to relax before SECs. We are in good shape.”
Next up for the Hogs will be the SEC Championships in Auburn, Ala., May 15-18. For complete results of the Arkansas Twilight, visit www.hogwired.com.