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Razorback Freshmen Earn Spots on U.S. Junior Cross Country Team

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Razorback Freshmen Earn Spots on U.S. Junior Cross Country Team

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas freshmen Scott MacPherson and Chris Barnicle punched their tickets for the 2006 IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation) World Cross Country Championships on Sunday morning earning spots on the United States Junior Cross Country squad in an eight-kilometer (8K) qualifying race held at Van Cortlandt Park in New York, N.Y.

MacPherson and Barnicle finished second and third, respectively, in the 66-man field. Kiel Uhl, from Ames, Iowa, won the race with a 23:50 clip. The top six finishers from Sunday will represent the U.S. in the world championships scheduled for April 1-2, 2006, in Fukuoka, Japan.

“I was really happy for them,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “For Scott and Chris to finish in the top three is impressive. This is a big boost of confidence and a shot of right medicine. They should be on cloud nine. I hope they get their feet back on the ground by this weekend when we go to the SEC Championships.”

MacPherson crossed the line in 23:57 to take runner-up honors. A Plano, Texas, product, MacPherson competed in only one cross country race for the Razorbacks last fall after suffering an injury.

A native of Newton, Mass., Barnicle secured third-place honors with a time of 24:03. Barnicle competed five times in the fall for the Razorbacks. He was part of the Hogs’ district championship squad and was a UA alternate at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.

Fellow Razorback Rio Reina, nephew of Razorback great Reuben Reina, finished 37th in a time of 25:59. Reina redshirted in his first cross country campaign at Arkansas.

“Competing at the world championships will be an education in itself,” McDonnell said. “They will get a chance to meet people from every country in the world. On the track, it will be like running in another NCAA meet. The juniors there, especially from Kenya and Ethiopia, are world class. It should be an awesome experience for them.”

The news was also good for former Razorback great Daniel Lincoln in the four-kilometer (4K) open race. Lincoln earned a spot on the U.S. team by finishing second in field of 80 in the 4K-race on Saturday after clocking a time of 10:52. Adam Goucher held off Lincoln down the stretch to win the event in 10:50. Lincoln will represent the U.S. in the 4K in Japan in April.

“What is amazing about the success of Daniel Lincoln is that he is a full-time medical school student,” McDonnell said. “To be able to handle both medical school and his professional running career is a credit to him. He has always been academics and then athletics. He is doing both of them very well.”

Former Razorback Fernando Cabada failed to qualify for the squad in both the 4K and 12K open races. He finished 11th (11:22) in the 4K on Saturday, before finishing 15th in the 12K (36:18) on Sunday. Fellow former Hog Jason Sandfort finished 18th in the 12K after crossing the finish line with a time of 36:27. Former Razorback Teddy Mitchell also competed in the 12K race finishing 58th after clocking in at 39:26.

Arkansas returns to indoor action this weekend when they travel to Gainesville, Fla., for the 2006 Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships. The heptathlon begins on Friday with the remainder of the conference championship action slated for Saturday and Sunday. The Razorbacks will be seeking their 78th conference title in cross country and track and field combined this weekend at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.



Sports Category : Track & Field (M)