Lincoln Takes Steeplechase Crown at NCAA Champ
BY ANDRES FOCIL
EUGENE, Ore. – In the last day of competition at the 2001 NCAA outdoor track and field championships, University of Arkansas sophomore Daniel Lincoln took the 2001 steeplechase title finishing in 8:42.31 on Saturday night in Eugene, Ore. This was the first national title for the Razorback and his fourth All-America honor.
“It was the weirdest thing,” UA distance runner Daniel Lincoln said. “A couple of steps before the line I looked back and I was really shocked. I am very happy. I was trying to do my best. The feeling was absolutely amazing. The victory lap was the happiest lap of my life.”
Lincoln took it out early in the race and ran in the front pack throughout the race with Weber State’s Jeremy Tolon, who finished in second place. Midway through the race, Lincoln dropped back but then retook the lead with Tolon and Ohio State’s Steve Slattery. Going into the last water drop the three were very close but Slattery fell into the last water jump. Lincoln then extended his lead and beat Tolon by a few meters who finished in 8:42.85.
“I am a little overwhelmed right now,” Lincoln said. “If you would have asked me if this was going to happen two years ago, I might have thought maybe. It is such a rush. It is great to be one of the many Arkansas champions. I did not want or really expect for it to go that way. I wanted to go out earlier but a lot of other guys had the same idea. I had to rely on my kick. You have just got to go out and play the game.
“I had to take a couple of chances. Going into the last water jump, I saw the guy go down and I just tried to avoid him. I then had to rely on my kick. I was just trying to bring something home for the team. I have now put myself into position to be a leader on the team next year.”
The Hogs finished in seventh place with 30 points. By not claiming the outdoor title, for the first time since the 1982-83 season the Razorbacks did not claim the indoor or the outdoor national title. The seventh place finish was the worst finish for the Hogs since they finished seventh at the 1991 outdoor meet.
“It has got to be hard on coach (UA head coach John McDonnell),” Lincoln said. “It had got to be tearing him up inside. It really bothers me that the tradition was not there this year but hopefully next year we will have a new crew.”
Tennessee, the 2001 SEC team champion, claimed the team title with 50 points. TCU was the runner-up with 49 points while Baylor was third with 36.50 points. Stanford took fourth with 36 points while LSU rounds out the top five with 32 points.
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