GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Senior Scott MacPherson earned a bronze finish in the 10,000 meters and the Razorbacks qualified four runners for the 800-meter finals to highlight day two of the SEC Outdoor Championships, in Gainesville, Fla. on Friday.
Arkansas sits in eighth place with nine points after two days of competition and three events scored. Georgia leads the team race with 28 points, Auburn is second with 18 points and LSU rounds out the top three with 16 points.
"Scott did a really nice job in the 10K," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "He ran really comfortable and luckily the pace wasn’t too fast tonight because it’s warm and humid out here. He ran well his last few laps so I think he’ll be fine for the steeplechase tomorrow. In the prelims, we got four guys in the finals of the 800 meters and just missed out on adding one more. That will really give us a boost on Sunday."
MacPherson, running in his first of potentially three races this weekend, used the 10K as a warm-up for Saturday’s steeplechase finals which he is favored to win. MacPherson, with teammate Lane Boyer, battled the front of the pack for the entire 25-lap race. In the end, he finish third overall with a time of 30:17.48. Boyer finished seventh with a time of 30:58.09 and junior Rio Reina was eighth with a time of 31:04.41.
"Tonight’s 10K was a chance to score some points for the team and shake the rust off before the steeplechase tomorrow night," MacPherson said. "I was prepared for a sit and kick race. Running tonight, Saturday and potentially Sunday in the 5K is really getting me stronger for NCAAs and that’s what the whole season is geared towards. I felt great but I was a little upset I didn’t have a little bit more those last 300 hundred meters but I’ll make up for it tomorrow night (in the steeplechase)."
The 800-meter prelims proved successful for the Hogs as four of the five Arkansas runners advanced to Sunday’s finals. Senior Andy McClary was the top qualifier for the Hogs. He was the fastest qualifier overall with his personal-best time of 1:48.46. His brother Alex was second among the Hogs and third overall with his time of 1:49.76.
Sophomore Chris Bilbrew was second in his heat behind Alex McClary and finished sixth overall with a season best 1:50.12. Junior Dorian Ulrey was the final Razorback qualifier with his time of 1:49.35, finishing seventh overall.
Freshman Jake Stephens just missed qualifying for the finals with his time of 1:50.51. His time is a personal best by two seconds and he has dropped nearly six seconds off his half-mile time this season.
Freshman Marek Niit posted the third-fastest prelim time in the 200 meters. He won his heat to automatically qualify for Sunday’s finals. He clocked regional-qualifying time of 20.78.
Senior J-Mee Samuels missed qualifying with his 200-meter prelim time of 21.14 and 15th-place finish. Senior Cedric Zellner finished 29th overall with a time of 22.01. Both will run in Saturday’s 100-meter prelims.
Freshman Andrew Pennington clocked a personal best while competing in the 400-meter hurdles prelims. His time of 53.67 earned a 12th-place finish and is also a qualifying time for the USA Junior Championships. He will compete in the 110-meter hurdles prelims on Saturday.
The SEC Outdoor Championships will continue Saturday with Luke Laird in the javelin at 11 a.m. CST. For more information, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com or GatorZone.com.
Scott MacPherson, 10,000 meters, 3rd, 30:17.48
Lane Boyer, 10,000 meters, 7th, 30:58.09
Rio Reina, 10,000 meters, 8th, 31:04.41
SEC Finals Qualifiers
Andy McClary, 800 meters, 1st, 1:48.46
Alex McClary, 800 meters, 3rd, 1:49.76
Chris Bilbrew, 800 meters, 6th, 1:50.12
Dorian Ulrey, 800 meters, 7th, 1:49.35
Marek Niit, 200 meters, 3rd, 20.78