Razorbacks Dominate at Missouri Southern Open
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas opened the 2002 indoor track season in dominating fashion as the Razorbacks blitzed the field last weekend at the Missouri Southern Open Invitational in Joplin, Mo.
The Hogs swept the top places in a number of events including taking the top four spots in the 800 meters and the top three places in the mile run. In addition, Arkansas boasted the top collegiate finishers in the 60-meter high hurdles, 3,000-meter run and the shot put.
“I was proud of the way our guys competed,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “We aren’t in class yet, so you don’t know how they are going to compete, but everyone competed hard. It was good to get a race under our belt before stepping up in competition next weekend.”
Freshman Said Ahmed (1:53.84) took the tape in the 800 meters in his first collegiate meet. The Boston, Mass., native joined the Razorback program this month and should give the Hogs another middle distance front runner. Freshman Michael Taylor (1:54.63) placed second in the 800 meters while junior Josh Landreth (1:54.73) and freshman James Hatch (1:57.06) capped the Hogs’ sweep of the top four finishes.
“It was good to see Said go out and win his first race,” McDonnell said. “We are going to need him to be a factor for us.”
Sophomore Chris Mulvaney topped the field in the mile run with a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 4:03.72. Mulvaney was the only Razorback competitor to earn a NCAA qualifying mark in Arkansas’ first indoor meet of the season.
“Chris ran really well and was able to get a provisional time,” McDonnell said. “It was a good solid race, especially for being the first time on the track this season.”
Junior Daniel Lincoln (4:14.15) and sophomore Westley Alkin (4:15.66) chased Mulvaney to the finish line capturing second and third, respectively.
Junior Eddie Jackson captured first place honors for the Hogs in the 60-meter high hurdles with a time of 7.94. Jackson, a defensive back on the Arkansas football team, has established himself as a standout on the track as well as the gridiron.
“Eddie is a competitor every time he steps out there,” McDonnell said. “You know that he is going to give you everything he has. He is going to help us again this year.”
Arkansas boasted the top two collegiate finishers in the 3,000-meter run. Sophomore Silverus Kimeli (8:20.28) and true freshman Jason Sandfort (8:25.88) racked up runnerup and third-place honors. Former Razorback standout Sharif Karie competed unattached and won the event in a time of 8:14.23.
The Razorbacks’ impressive showing wasn’t limited to the track. Despite limited preparation time and scaled back approaches, Arkansas showed promise in the field events.
Freshman and former high school All-American Jonathan Reeves was the top collegiate finisher in the shot put with a throw of 56-4.75. Reeves finished second only to unattached competitor Tony Thompson (61-4.75).
“Jonathan had some good throws and he lost some great throws when he fouled,” McDonnell said. “There is no doubt that he has some outstanding ability. He will only get better.”
Sophomore Maurice Robinson (47-0.75) finished third in the triple jump while teammates Ramon Washington (24-3.75) and Richard Smith (24-0.75) placed third and fourth, respectively, in the long jump. All UA jumpers took less than half of their normal approaches last weekend, but still managed to finish in the top half of the results.
Arkansas will return to the track next weekend when the Razorbacks host four other conference foes at the Randal Tyson Track Center. Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and LSU will all travel to Fayetteville to compete on Friday night.
“Things will start to heat up next weekend,” McDonnell said. “We just wanted to get our feet wet. It was a good start to what I think could be a great season.”
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