Razorbacks Finish Fourth at 2002 NCAA Indoor T
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas made a spirited run at a 37th national championship, but in the end competition from three league schools was too much to overcome as the Razorbacks finished in fourth place at the 2002 NCAA Indoor Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark.
“I’m really proud of our guys; we scored 39 points,” Arkansas Head Coach John McDonnell said. “This was the national championship and that would have won it last year. Tennessee, Alabama and LSU had way too many guns.”
Arkansas earned 18 points on day two of the meet and ended with a total of 39. Unfortunately, it was not enough to pull past Tennessee, Alabama and LSU. Tennessee won the national team title with 62.5 points while Alabama (47) and LSU (44) finished second and third, respectively. The Vols’ championship point total nearly doubled the 34 points it took LSU to win the title in 2001.
Freshman Said Ahmed ran a career best time of 1:47.80 in the 800 meters to finish third. This great run gave Arkansas a total of 30 points after 10 events to trial the leader, Alabama, by only four.
“Said ran a great race especially for a freshman,” Coach McDonnell said. “He was in a fast-paced race and he held up well.”
In a tight mile race sophomore Chris Mulvaney finished fifth with a time of 4:03.31. Mulvaney’s top five finish added three points to give Arkansas a total of 24.
Sophomore Maurice Robinson qualified for the finals with a career best triple jump of 52-7.50 in the preliminary round. In the finals he tied he career best of 52-7.50 and finished fifth and helped Arkansas earn a total of 34 points after 13 events.
In the 3,000-meter run two Razorbacks finished in the top eight. Sophomore Alistair Cragg finished fifth with a time of 8:03.48 and junior Daniel Lincoln finished eighth with a time of 8:05.61. It was the second top 10 finishes for the Razorback duo in as many days. Cragg took the tape in the 5,000-meter run on Friday night with Lincoln earning fourth-place honors.
While a fourth-place finish isn’t typical of Arkansas’ legendary run in collegiate track and field, McDonnell is confident that this year’s finish is something his young team can build on. Arkansas had 10 competitors in this year’s national meet including three freshmen, four sophomores and three juniors. Six Razorback competitors turned d in top eight scores to build Arkansas’ 39 point total.
“I’m real pleased, we have a young team. It’s not very satisfying right now, but we are young and the future is bright. We have a lot of sophomores and freshman, everybody’s back. We had some freshman that didn’t make it this year, but will make it next year. We have a great bunch of guys that are anxious and hungry to get to the top.”
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