NCAA Meet Comes Down to the Wire and Hogs fini
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In a meet that came down to the last event of the day, the University of Arkansas men’s track and field squad finished third in the 2001 NCAA Indoor National Championships Saturday at the Randal Tyson Track Center in front of 5,621 fans.
Entering into the meet, the Hogs had won the past four indoor titles and were looking to claim their 37th national track and field title. For the first time since 1981, the Hogs did not claim an individual national champion.
Following the 3,000 meter run, the Razorbacks sat in second place with 32 points while the Horned Frogs moved into first place but still needed to place higher than seventh in the 1,600-meter relay. Without a 4×400-squad entered in the race, the highest that the Hogs could finish was in second place. LSU grabbed a first-place finish in heat two to move the Tigers into first. TCU finished out of the scoring but still jumped ahead of the Hogs with 33 points.
Two-day point totals following 16 events for the top-five teams were LSU in first with 34 points, TCU in second with 33 points, Arkansas in third with 32 points, Alabama in fourth with 31 and Stanford in fifth with 28.50.
“It was a really close meet,” UA head coach John McDonnell. “I would rather have lost more lopsided. Several teams out there had a chance. If TCU had not dropped the baton they could have won. I would hate to lose like that. That would be a tough way to lose.
“This was just one of those things. The blame could fall anywhere. We had a good meet and my guys tried hard. We just came up a little short.”
The Razorbacks started the day with a seventh-place finish by Jason Ward in the triple jump jumping 52-9.50. Dirk Heinze came up big for the Hogs grabbing a second place finish in the 800-meters. Running his fastest time of the year at 1:45.95 Heinze finished behind Patrick Nduwimana at 1:45.33 who ran the third fastest time in the world and set a new NCAA Championship meet record.
“I was happy with my race,” Heinze said. “I did not think that the race would have been run that fast. I think that Coach McDonnell was happy with my performance. We were looking to get some points in the 800 meters and we got more than we expected.”
Kenny Evans finished third in the high jump after clearing 7-5 behind Weber State’s Charles Clinger and Purdue’s Shaun Guice. The top three competitors all cleared the same height but were but were ranked by who had the fewest misses at previous heights.
“I thought that the winning height would be higher than 7-5,” Evans said. “I was not very happy with my performance but now I guess that I have to look ahead to outdoor season.”
With the eighth fastest time from the prelims on Friday, Ryan Travis finished ninth in the mile in 4:00.63, his fastest time of the season, and earned one point for the Hogs.
The last event that the Hogs had an opportunity to score in was the 3,000-meter run with three Razorbacks slated to run. Daniel Lincoln was the highest finishing Hog in the race finishing seventh in 8:09.41. Sharif Karie led for part of the race but eventually dropped to 13th-place with a time of 8:20.05. Hogs’ Ryan Travis dropped out of the race about half way through.
“I am proud of my guys,” McDonnell said. “We have won 16 of the last 18 indoor titles. The sun will rise tomorrow. We have to move on and look ahead to outdoors.”
The Razorback outdoor season begins at the SEC Quint. in Athens, Ga., on March 31, 2001.
University of Arkansas Competitors at the 2001 NCAA Indoor National Championships
800-meter run Dirk Heinze prelim 1:48.48
final 1:45.95 2nd place
mile run Ryan Travis prelim 4:02.56
final 4:00.62 9th place
3,000 meter run Daniel Lincoln final 8:09.41 7th place
Sharif Karie final 8:20.05 13th place
Ryan Travis final DNF
5,000 meter run Murray Link final 13:52.31 5th place
Daniel Lincoln final 13:58.98 7th place
Distance medley relay final 9:34.51 2nd place
High jump Kenny Evans final 7-5.00 3rd place
Triple jump Jason Ward final 52-9.50 7th place
Maurice Robinson prelim 51-7.25
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