Razorbacks Make Strides Towards Run at a Natio
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas took an early step towards making a run at a 17th indoor national championship on Friday night at the Randal Tyson Track Center as the Razorbacks won six events and earned one automatic and two provisional qualifying times at the Southeastern Conference Regional Meet. A host of other UA competitors finished just off qualifying standards.
While the Razorbacks finished second to Alabama in the team scoring race, perhaps no other squad came out with as much confidence as the Hogs.
“We had some outstanding performances especially for this early in the season,” McDonnell said. “I was pleased with what we got out of it. We wanted everyone to come out of this with a good feeling. I think we’ve done that.”
For the record, Alabama won the team event with 145.5 with Arkansas placing second with 122 points. LSU (106), Ole Miss (93) and Mississippi State (91.5) finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Senior Dirk Heinze provided the highlight of the Hogs’ evening when the Erfurt, Germany, native easily outdistanced heralded Alabama miler David Kimani to win the mile run in 3:57.95. Heinze, an All-American at 800 meters last season, posted an automatic qualifying time in the mile becoming the first Razorback to guarantee his spot in the national championships in March. Making the feat even more impressive, Heinze ran the mile for the first time in his career.
“He ran the mile like a pro,” McDonnell said. “He took it out so fast that Kimani couldn’t make a run at him down the stretch. He has been an 800-meter guy, but he was really excited about this race.”
Sophomore Silverus Kimeli (4:09.15) and freshman Michael Taylor (4:12.61) garnered third and fourth for the Hogs in the mile.
Junior hurdler Eddie Jackson earned a provisional qualification in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 6.90 in the preliminary round. Jackson advanced to the finals, but failed to finish after tripping over the last hurdle.
Sophomore Chris Mulvaney became the first Razorback to qualify for NCAA competition in multiple events. Mulvaney earned a provisional time of 1:48.45 on his way to winning the 800-meter run. Last weekend, Mulvaney provisionally qualified in the mile run at the Missouri Southern Invitational.
“We were able to get a couple of provisional times,” McDonnell said. “Eddie was running real well in the finals, until he fell but he still was able to qualify in the prelims. For the second straight week, Chris turned in a strong performance.”
Freshman Jason Sandfort paced the collegiate field in the 3,000-meter run. The West Plains, Mo., native finished first with a time of 8:16.52. Sophomore Westley Alkin (8:26.08) took third place.
The Hogs took first-place honors in the distance medley relay. Junior Daniel Lincoln, freshman Chason Pompey, sophomore Silverus Kimeli and sophomore Alistair Cragg combined to post a time of 9:46.22. The Razorbacks’ winning time was less than a second off the NCAA provisional qualifying standard.
Arkansas boasted three of the top five finishers in the 5,000 meters. Sophomore Fernando Cabada took the tape in 14:57.20. Junior Patrick Thomas (15:10.66) finished third while freshman Zack Sartori (15:41.08) placed fifth.
“Cabada showed a good kick,” McDonnell said. “It was his first 5K of the year and he showed some good signs. At the end, he just took off.”
A pair of Razorback football players made their track debuts on Friday night. Sophomore Lawrence Richardson and freshman Ahmad Carroll both competed in the 60- meter dash. Carroll qualified for the finals and finished third with a time of 6.74. Richardson clocked in at 7.03 in the preliminary round.
In other track action, junior Josh Landreth placed fifth in the 400 meter-run and the Razorback 1,600-meter relay team placed fourth with a time of 3:18.24.
Freshman Jonathan Reeves captured his initial collegiate event title with a first-place showing in the shot put. Reeves topped the field with a throw of 54-11.50.
“I just wanted him to stay composed and not go too hard,” UA Field Events Coach Dick Booth said. “At this point, we just need him to concentrate on the fundamentals.”
Redshirt freshman Cory Oldham turned in an impressive performance in the high jump. Oldham placed fourth with a leap of 6-10.75 and topped his previous best by more than four inches. True freshman Matt Roseberry made his Razorback debut despite arriving on campus less than two weeks ago. Roseberry, a high school All-American, stands 6-8.
“I was proud of Cory in the high jump,” Booth said. “For a redshirt freshman with a best of 6-6 to come out and jump 6-10 that is good. Matt got his feet wet as well. I told him that he didn’t have to jump this weekend, but was anxious to get out there. He is beat up after the training we have had him on in the last week and a half. He is a big tall kid that has a lot of potential.”
Ramon Washington doubled in the long and triple jump for the Razorbacks. The junior placed second in the long jump (24-8.25) and third in the triple jump (50-8.75). Junior Richard Smith leaped 23-2.75 to finish seventh in the long jump.
Arkansas will return to action on Feb. 1-2 when the Razorbacks host the 3rd annual Tyson Invitational. The two-day meet will feature a collegiate meet on Friday and a professional meet on Saturday.
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