Razorbacks in Good Position After Successful S
BY ANDRES FOCIL
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Arkansas track team continued to advance its athletes to the finals in the second day of competition and put itself in the driver’s seat to score points for a national title in the coming days at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
“We’re positioning ourselves to make a run at the title,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “The 10K tonight will tell a lot. If that goes well, it will be a big boost for our team. It will be a dogfight with Auburn. I still like our position, but it will be tough.”
Sophomore Ahmad Carroll competed in the qualifying rounds of the 200-meter dash Thursday morning. He automatically advanced with a second place showing in his heat and a career-best time of 20.89. In the semifinals later that day he continued to excel and got in the finals on his time of 20.93.
Late Wednesday night Carroll was also in the semifinals of the 100-meter dash and crossed the line in fourth place (10.43) in strong winds and cool temperatures to automatically qualify for the finals of the event. In the past two days the two-sport athlete has run in a total of four races.
“It’s amazing what Ahmad has been able to do in the past two days,” McDonnell said. “He’s in the finals of both events and he’s going to be an All-American in both of them. Hopefully he’ll do what he did at conference and score important points for us. He’s such a competitor and he wants that national championship so bad.”
“He made it through and we’re excited,” Arkansas sprints coach Lance Brauman said. “He’s feeling pretty good and he’s a strong kid. The more he runs the better he does. He just has to come back and do it the rest of the week.”
“I need to get proper rest for tomorrow,” Carroll said. “I try not to think about being in the finals of two events and just get out there and run. It’s all about getting points for the team.”
Three of the four 1,500-meter runners were able to advance to the finals. Sophomore Said Ahmed was the top finisher in his heat with a time of 3:42.26. Sophomore Michael Taylor was third with 3:44.68, and junior Chris Mulvaney was in another heat, crossing the line in fourth (3:44.68) to automatically qualify. Sophomore James Hatch was unable to make the cut as he turned in a time of 3:49.76.
In the semifinals of the 800-meter run junior Robbie Stevens automatically advanced to the finals after he came in third with a time of 1:47.34. His time was fifth overall and was among eight runners that ran 1:47 or better.
Senior Richard Smith and sophomore Jaanus Uudmae both competed in the triple jump. Unfortunately, neither was able to advance to the finals. Smith’s best jump of 51-5.50 came on his first attempt and he fouled on his last two, putting him at 18th overall. Uudmae also fouled on all three of his chances.
Two other Razorbacks competed late Wednesday night. The prelims of the 5,000 meters proved to be an easy task for junior All-American Alistair Cragg as he advanced to the finals when he came in fifth in his heat with a time of 14:03.14. Cragg rode in the middle of the pack during the majority of the race. With three laps left he pulled to the front, then decided to stay comfortably in the fifth position to save his energy and finish out the race.
Junior Maurice Robinson ran a time of 51.98 in the 400-meter hurdles to finish fifth in his heat and failed to advance for the finals.
The finals of the 10,000-meter run will wrap up the competition for Thursday very late at 10 p.m. PT, with Cragg and senior Daniel Lincoln trying to tally valuable points for Arkansas. Friday’s late night events will include finals of all events with senior Ramon Washington in the long jump, Lincoln hoping to successfully defend his title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Carroll in the 100-meter dash.
Sports Category :