Lincoln Wins Heat; Advances to Finals of Steep
BY ANDRES FOCIL
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Former Razorback Daniel Lincoln remained calm, cool and collective as he cruised to a first place heat finish in the semifinals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the U.S. Olympic Trials. The four-time NCAA champion recorded the second-fastest time overall, with 8:26.57. Anthoney Famiglietti, representing Adidas, won the first heat in 8:26.51.
“I felt good,” Lincoln said. “I kind of waited for the field to break up and stay relaxed when I took the lead. I tried to concentrate on each barrier. With the Olympic Trials it’s a big deal and I just wanted get in here and settle my nerves and get used to the track and everything going on. I accomplished that.”
Before Lincoln took the lead for good with 1,200 meters remaining he and Adidas’ Robert Gary were traded leads for the majority of the race if they weren’t running side by side. Gary, a member of the World Championship team, crossed the line close behind Lincoln with 8:27.00. The top four finishers and the next six fastest times will line up for the finals on Thursday July 15 at 10:45 p.m. CT. Lincoln was entering the Trials with the country’s top time (8:17.93) and he will look to prove himself with a top-three finish that would send him to the Olympics in Athens, Greece.
“He looked good,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “I told him if the pace was slow to take the lead with three laps to go and make sure to shrug off the top four and get rid of everyone. It wasn’t that fast to begin with so he decided to take it and lead it, which was good because he had a clear run at the hurdles. He’s at the big dance and he’s in control of his own destiny from here. If everything goes how I think it will he’ll run well in the finals. He was well within himself tonight and all he has to do is have a repeat and improve by about 15 seconds and he’ll be ok.”
The steeplechase will not be the only event with current or former Hogs competing. Sophomore Eric Brown will start the day off in the qualifying rounds of the javelin at 4 p.m. Robert Howard and Melvin Lister will have a chance at the Games in the triple jump. Matt Hemingway is set for the high jump at 8 p.m. with one of the nation’s top marks.
The first running event is the quarterfinals of the 1,500 meters at 10 p.m. Junior Said Ahmed and Seneca Lassiter will both look for fast qualifying finishes among a talented field. No competitions will be held on Tuesday July 13 and Wednesday July 14.
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