McDonnell and Spearmon Garner Regional Awards
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After an outstanding indoor season, that included a Southeastern Conference Championship, Arkansas head coach John McDonnell and sophomore Wallace Spearmon Jr., were named the South Central Coach and Athlete of the Year, respectively, by the United States Track Coaches Association (USTCA).
This is the first such regional award Spearmon has earned in his career as a Razorback. During the 2005 indoor campaign he posted two world-leading times in the 200 meters, while setting new UA school records. At the Razorback Invitational on Jan. 21 he ran 20.36. Five weeks later at the SEC Indoor Championships he improved his performance to a 20.35, while capturing gold. The Fayetteville, Ark., native’s time placed him at sixth on the U.S. all-time indoor list and ninth on the world’s all-time list. In addition to claiming his first individual league title, Spearmon also gained runner-up honors in the 60-meter dash (6.72) and anchored the 4×400-meter relay team that finished third.
McDonnell continued his legendary winning ways in 2005 by guiding his program to a dominating win at the SEC Indoor Championships. The Razorbacks reclaimed top honors, while outscoring second-place finisher, Florida, 155-92. It was UA’s 24th league indoor title and 12th SEC indoor crown. The team’s victory also gave McDonnell his 75th overall conference championship. This year’s regional award is the 56th of his 33-year career at Arkansas.
This weekend McDonnell and Spearmon will focus on the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships that are being held at the Randal Tyson Track Center. A first-place team finish would represent a landmark in McDonnell’s coaching career, giving him an unprecedented 40th NCAA Championship.
The women’s 800 meters is the first running event on Friday and is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. The men’s 800 will follow at 4:45 p.m. The men’s DMR will wrap up the day at 9:30 p.m. On Saturday the UA men will begin the day with the triple jump at 5:45 p.m. and the 4×400-meter relay will conclude the championships at 8:20 p.m.
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