FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas head coach John McDonnell had a feeling that Adam Perkins was on the verge of punching his ticket to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. The junior middle distance runner made his legendary coach look like a soothsayer on Saturday by turning in an NCAA provisional qualifying performance in the mile run at the Iowa State Qualifier in Ames, Iowa.
Perkins clocked in at a time of 4:01.01 and finished third in a quality field. Perkins time in the mile is second-only to senior Said Ahmed (4:00.35) on the squad would have ranked 16th in last week’s national rankings. His provisional time will likely earn him a spot in the NCAA field next weekend at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
“I was proud of the way Adam ran in the mile,” McDonnell said. “I think he could have gotten an even better time if the pace would’ve been a little faster. He is a guy that has some NCAA experience in the 3,000 and that will help us.”
Junior Brian Roe also made his run at an individual entry in next weekend’s NCAA Championships. Roe improved his NCAA provisional qualifying time in the 800 meters. The West Plains, Mo., product finished second in the 800 on Saturday posting a time of 1:48.87. That same clip would have ranked 16th in the nation last week. While the NCAA field typically consists of only 16 athletes, often competitors drop out of some events to concentrate on others. The Razorbacks will have to wait and see if Roe’s 800-meter performance on Saturday will make the final cut. Roe is likely to run a leg in the distance medley relay for the Hogs at the national meet.
“It was good to see Brian get back on the track and run a good race,” McDonnell said. “Whether he gets in or not will depend on what happened around the country this weekend. Even if he doesn’t make it, he is primed to help us on the distance medley relay.”
While Perkins and Roe were expected to make a serious run at the NCAA start list, several other Razorbacks were hoping for break-through performances to gain momentum heading into the outdoor campaign.
Senior Seth Summerside and freshman Kenny Cormier captured first and second place in the 3,000-meter run on Saturday afternoon. Summerside took the tape in 8:07.79 with Cormier taking runner-up honors in 8:18.40.
Freshman sprinter J-Mee Samuels earned three more opportunities to qualify in the 60-meter dash. Samuels posted times of 6.82 and 6.80 in the preliminaries and semifinals, respectively, to advance to the 60-meter final. A frustrating season came to an end when Samuels was disqualified in the final after a false start. Samuels’ time of 6.71 run earlier this indoor season ranked 23rd nationally coming into the weekend and won’t be fast enough to net the freshman spot in next weekend’s NCAA meet.
Sophomore Michael Grant garnered the final semifinal qualifying spot with a time of 6.96 in the preliminary round. However, Grant was eliminated from contention for the final after clocking in at 6.95 in his semifinal heat.
Freshman Jeremy Dodson crossed the line in 21.66 in the 200-meter dash to finish 13th. Sophomore Mychael Stewart finished three places behind in 16th after running 21.83. Grant improved on his personal best time in the event with a 22.22 clip on his way to a 23rd-place finish.
Freshman Chris Barnicle and senior Eric Gross competed with Perkins in the mile run on Saturday. Gross improved his season best finishing 11th overall with a time of 4:10.16. Barnicle (4:14.19) failed to improve on his season-best time in a 14th-place finish.
Running in his first collegiate 800, freshman Collin Costello finished 16th in a time of 1:52.97. Costello ran for the first time last weekend at the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships in Gainesville, Fla.
Sophomore Mychael Stewart and junior Greg Martin came up short of a season best or an NCAA qualifying mark in the long jump. Stewart finished ninth in the long jump with a leap of 23-5 1/4. Martin’s jump of 22-11 3/4 placed him 11th in the field.
Martin and sophomore Chessly Johnson finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the triple jump. Both Martin’s mark of 48-5 1/2 and Johnson’s measurement of 47-10 were shy of the NCAA provisional standard.
Over the next few days McDonnell and the Razorbacks will get official confirmation on whether Saturday’s performances from Perkins and Roe will secure additional spots in the NCAA field. Regardless of the outcome on those two entries, McDonnell is confident that his No. 1 ranked Razorbacks are primed for a national championship showdown.
“We got what we wanted out of the weekend,” McDonnell said. “I was happy with what happened in Ames. We now have the guys in the meet to make a run at the national championship.”
Arkansas plays host to the nation’s best next weekend, March 10-11, at the Randal Tyson Track Center. Action begins on Friday with the heptathlon at 9 a.m. Field events begin at 2:30 p.m. on Friday with running events set to commence at 4:30 p.m. The NCAA meet concludes with a full day of events on Saturday. Tickets for the NCAA may be purchased in advance by calling 1-800-982-HOGS or by logging on to www.hogwired.com.