Razorbacks Prepare to Compete in New York
BY ANDRES FOCIL
NEW YORK, N.Y. – This weekend the No. 1 ranked Razorbacks will be making a historic trip. For the first time in the history of the program the Hogs will compete at the Armory’s New Balance Collegiate Invitational in New York City. Arkansas is fielding a full team and is scheduled to compete on Feb. 4-5, with close to 80 other schools.
With strong competition and an inspiring atmosphere Arkansas head coach John McDonnell will look for more Razorbacks to gain NCAA automatic times and marks. With two home meets under its belt Arkansas has tallied one automatic and eight provisional qualifications.
“We need to get more people qualified, because we started the year off sort of slow,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “Hopefully the guys will feel a good rush this weekend, especially being in New York with the good competition.”
“We have a lot of guys in the 3,000 meters and if the pace is there I want to get at least two automatic qualifiers,” McDonnell said. “We should also get a couple provisional times in the mile with Said Ahmed and Adam Perkins. I would also like to see auto performances from Jaanus Uudmae in the triple jump and Omar Brown in the 400.”
A trio of Razorbacks will run in the 3,000 meters, including senior Jason Sandfort, sophomore transfer Peter Kosgei and freshman Shawn Forrest. Kosgei is the only UA athlete provisionally qualified in the event. Forrest is also scheduled to run in the 5,000 meters with juniors Jose Campos, Matt Gunn and Josh Robles. The mile run has potential to produce fast times as senior Eric Gross, juniors Said Ahmed and Marc Rodrigues and sophomore Adam Perkins take to the track in the event. Senior James Hatch is the only Hog to be provisionally qualified in the event, but this weekend he will compete in the 800 meters, with juniors Harun Iman and Seth Summerside and sophomore Brian Roe.
The sprinters will see plenty of action as sophomore Creighton Kiper and freshman Michael Grant will get in the blocks for the 60 and 200 meters. Having already tied the 400-meter school record (46.16) sophomore Wallace Spearmon Jr., will have another opportunity to better his performance in the Big Apple. Seniors Terry Gatson and Omar Brown will also strive to post automatic times in the event, along with junior David Wittenmyer.
Five Razorbacks will represent the UA in field events. The triple jump has senior Jaanus Uudmae and freshman Chessly Johnson striving to better their provisional marks and they will also compete in the long jump. Senior Cory Oldham and freshman Brent Rosson are in the high jump, while junior Jimmy Duke is entered in the pole vault.
After Arkansas returns from New York they will host the Powered by Tyson Invitational on Feb. 11-12 at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The Razorbacks will have the opportunity to go up against some of the world’s best athletes during the professional portion of the meet on Friday night from 7-9 p.m., and on Saturday nearly 30 schools from around the country will take to the track with events taking place all day.
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