Razorbacks Capture 17th NCAA Indoor Crown; Cra
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After a two-year drought Arkansas claimed their 17th NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship with 52 points in front a hometown crowd of 5,583 at the Randal Tyson Track Center. It was the Razorbacks’ first national title since the 2000 cross country season and also made for their 37th overall NCAA crown. The Hogs put away the title after junior Alistair Cragg won his second individual title of the weekend in the 3,000-meter run.
Auburn was second with 28 points, Nebraska came in third with 26, LSU was fourth (24), while Villanova, South Carolina and Tennessee rounded out the top five in a tie with 23. Their 24-point margin of victory was the largest since 1997, when they scored 59 points to beat Auburn’s 27.
“Our drought without a title was too long and now it’s over,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “I’m just overjoyed with this team. After two years without a championship, this is great. We are back where we like to be. After not winning, you think you are losing your magic. At the beginning of the year, I told the team they were special.
“That last race was just phenomenal. Alistair really earned it. He and Daniel are amazing kids. They are the leaders of this team, especially after they ran the 5K yesterday. That shows a lot of character, because it is very tough.”
After winning the 5,000 meters last night, Cragg claimed his other title as he raced to victory in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 7:55.68. Cragg also earned the distinction of being the meet’s high scorer with 20 points.
“I just did what Coach Mac told me to and it worked,” Cragg said. “I waited until 500 was left and kicked in. I felt fresh out there, like it was my first race. I put it all on the line. We wanted to win it for the team.”
Senior Daniel Lincoln joined Cragg in the 3K and crossed the line in third with a time of 7:57.43. The duo combined to give the Hogs 16 points, securing the championship with 52. Junior Silverus Kimeli also ran in the event and was 15th (8:21.82).
Junior transfer Jaanus Uudmae and senior Richard Smith competed in the triple jump and finished fifth and seventh, respectively, earning six additional points for UA. Uudmae jumped a career-best mark of 53-8.25 and Smith posted a 53-0.75.
In the first running event of the day junior Chris Mulvaney captured the title in the mile run with a time of 4:05.70 and added 10 much-needed points to Arkansas’ total. He maintained good position as he trailed the leader, Nate Robison of BYU, during the first half of the race, but started his kick during the last 400 meters and easily took the tape. It was also Mulvaney’s first NCAA individual championship.
“If the race was either fast or slow, I knew I would have the kick,” Mulvaney said. “I had the right tactics in the race and I didn’t care if it was slow or fast.”
In a very fast 800-meter race junior Robbie Stevens earned his first All-America honor as he crossed the line in eighth with a time of 1:49.90 to tack on one point to give the Razorbacks a total of 30.
For the weekend seven UA athletes garnered ten All-America honors. They hope to continue their success as they prepare for the outdoor season, with the SEC Outdoor West Challenge being held next week, March 22 in Starkville, Miss.
Complete NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship Results
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