PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -Arkansas head coach John McDonnell and the Razorbacks had an extraordinary day as they became the first team to win each of the eight prestigious relays at the Penn Relays in 67 years with a first place finish in the shuttle hurdle relay.
“It was a great race,” McDonnell said. “The guys have worked hard and it was a great win for coach Silvey.”
Sean Lightfoot ran the opening leg in a blistering 13.8 finishing just ahead of the defending champion Tennessee Volunteers.
“A week before we new that we could go in and win it,” Lightfoot said. “Last year we came so close and we knew that this would be our year. Sam (Glover), Eddie (Jackson) and D’Marcus (Brown), we prayed about it and then got fired up.”
Freshman Eddie Jackson, a provisional qualifier in the 110m hurdles already, gave Arkansas a comfortable lead with a 13.6 second finish.
“I was a little bit nervous at the beginning because of the crowd,” Jackson said. “I have never ran in front of a crowd that larger before. We I saw Sean everyone was pretty close together. I just wanted to maintain my race and not hit any hurdles.”
The third leg, ran by Samuel Glover, held off Clemson and the Vols with the final leg to be ran by junior D’Marcus Brown.
“We just wanted to run sub-13s,” Brown said. “We new that if we could do that, it would be a sure bet that we would win. I just wanted to think of it as another race and don’t do anything that would mess it up.”
Brown finished the race in 13.6 seconds edging Clemson by four hundredths of a second. Arkansas finished at 55.37, two hundredths off of setting the meet record.
“We tried to win the shuttle hurdle relay for coach McDonnell, because it is he only relay that he has not won out here at Penn,” sprints coach Steve Silvey said. “I tried to tell them not to get out of the zones too early and run a clean race and it takes four guys to win the relay.”
Lightfoot also placed seventh in the 110m hurdles running a 14.08.
Another highlight of Friday afternoon was senior Marcus Clavelle’s victory in the shot put throwing 61-2.5.
“This was a nice victory,” Clavelle said. “We have next week off and I hope to go somewhere for a last chance in the discus. Other than that I feel that I am ready to go.”
Field’s coach Dick Booth was impressed with Clavelle’s improvement as the season has progressed.
“A win is a win,” field’s coach Dick Booth said. “You come here to get a Penn Relay’s watch and that is what he got. I am really proud of him for that. I felt that his distance was okay for 10:30 in the morning.”
In a pleasant surprise for the Razorbacks was the 4x100m team of Jackson, Glover, Kevin Baker and Melvin Lister. They placed first in the their heat in 40.78 to qualify for the championship finals to be run Saturday.
“Our guys have gotten better as the season has gone on,” McDonnell said. “We will see tomorrow how good they really are when they face off against the best sprinters in the nation in TCU and Clemson.”
In a race that Arkansas has claimed 13 times over the years, the distance medley relay was not as successful as years past. Arkansas placed second to Connecticut by three hundredths of a second running a time of 9:33.05.
The Razorbacks also had an impressive second finish in the 1600m sprint medley relay, an event that they set the collegiate record of 3:12.13 at the Texas Relays in April.
Arkansas will have three chances Saturday to bring home another Penn State wagon wheel in the 4x100m relay, 4x1500m relay and the 4xmile.