Razorbacks Capture Fourth-Straight DMR Title
BY ANDRES FOCIL
AUSTIN, Texas – On the last day of the 77th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays Arkansas grabbed its third title in as many days when the Hogs finished the distance medley relay in first place with a time of 9:36.11. It marked the fourth-straight year and the 11th time in 20 years UA has taken top honors in the event.
“The DMR was great,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “I wanted to give Sam Vazquez experience at the anchor as a freshman. For a freshman to go out and lead is great. The other guys did a good job of setting him up. So far, we’ve had a great meet. We won three relays, the javelin and came in fourth in the 400 hurdles. I’m happy for our first meet of the season.”
Senior Chris Mulvaney took the leadoff 1,200-meter leg and passed UCLA to take the lead in the first 400 meters with a split time of 2:57.3. Mulvaney handed off to junior Terry Gatson who powered around the track with a split time of 46.0 to maintain the advantage.
Junior Said Ahmed received the baton next for the 800-meter portion. It was the first time Ahmed had run an 800-meter since last year at the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships. Ahmed clocked a 1:49.4 split and left UCLA and Baylor well behind. Freshman Sam Vazquez handled the 1,600-meter anchor leg and did a good job of staying far ahead of the 19-team field to guide the Razorbacks to victory with a time of 4:03.5.
“We were just looking for a win today,” Vazquez said. “Winning the last three years puts a lot of pressure on us and we wanted to make sure the trophy stayed with us. Once I got the baton Coach McDonnell told me to go hard so that’s what I tried to do. I wanted to go out well and I did that.”
In the finals of the 400-meter hurdles senior Maurice Bridges ran a solid race and improved his regional qualifying mark to 50.97 as he crossed the line in fourth. In the prelims he turned in a time of 51.64. Freshman Adam Perkins represented UA in the mile run and put up a time of 4:14.26 for a 12th-place performance.
In field events action junior Cory Oldham registered a height of 6-6.75 in the high jump and tied for 10th.
The 4×200-meter relay included senior Michael Thomas, junior Omar Brown and freshmen Creighton Kiper and Wallace Spearmon. The Hogs were looking for a good time, but unfortunately, Thomas missed the first handoff to Brown and they did not finish the race.
Thomas also saw competition in the finals of the 110-meter hurdles, but tripped after the ninth hurdle and was unable to finish. In Friday’s preliminary heat he had posted a regional qualifying time of 13.86.
“It’s unfortunate about the 4×200, because we could have won that,” McDonnell said. “It’s just one of those things. You think they would have learned by now to keep running.”
When the Razorbacks return to Fayetteville, Ark., they will host the John McDonnell Invitational on April 10, where they will look to add more NCAA regional qualifiers.
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