Razorbacks Rack up Four SEC Outdoor Track and
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Even though the 2004 outdoor track and field season ended on June 12, the Razorbacks keep racking up more post-season awards. On Friday the Southeastern Conference announced that Arkansas head coach John McDonnell was named the league’s outdoor coach of the year, senior Alistair Cragg was tabbed as the SEC’s Outdoor Male Runner of the Year, Wallace Spearmon Jr. was selected as the male freshman runner of the year and Jason Sandfort was named co-men’s scholar-athlete of the year.
McDonnell was awarded the honor after leading the Hogs to their 11th SEC outdoor title and their 20th outdoor conference crown in 23 years. None of the other league schools could stop the Razorbacks as they tallied 183 points in a very convincing victory in Oxford, Miss. As icing on the cake one relay and six individual event championships were earned by UA athletes. Arkansas then went on to dominate on the national level as the Razorbacks continued to stay on top in Austin, Texas, winning their 11th NCAA Outdoor Championship. It also marked Arkansas’ 39th national title overall, the most of any Division I track program.
Cragg finished his Razorback career as a seven-time NCAA champion, 13-time All-American, nine-time SEC champion and 18-time All-SEC selection. Earlier this year, he became only the third student-athlete in league history to win the Roy F. Kramer Male Athlete of the Year award twice joining former Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel and former LSU basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.
At the SEC Outdoor Championships, Cragg scored 30 points to earn the Commissioner’s Trophy for the first time during his outdoor campaigns and helped lead the Hogs to the conference title. All of his performances set new Ole Miss Track and Field Complex records and were either automatic or regional times. He was first in the 10,000 meters with a new NCAA automatic time of 28:46.64, first in the 1,500 (3:40.18) and first in the 5,000 meters (14:08.77). With his finishes he became the first athlete in UA and league history to claim all three titles in the same year.
At the Cardinal Invitational Cragg recorded a then world-leading 5,000-meter time of 13:16.98 for top honors. His time broke his own school record and guaranteed him a spot on Ireland’s Olympic team, making him UA’s 23rd Olympian. He capped his season by winning the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Championships, setting a school record for NCAA titles won (seven) and points scored by a runner in NCAA meets (86).
Spearmon made history in his first season in a Razorback uniform. At the NCAA Championships he became the first Arkansas athlete in school history to win the 200-meter dash when he registered a wind-aided time of 20.12. He also anchored the Razorback 4×100-meter relay team that finished fifth (39.39) at the national meet.
At the SEC Championships he competed in three events. He ran the second leg of the winning 4×100-meter relay team that gained an improved regional time of 39.17. In the 100-meter dash he came in fourth with a time of 10.40. He garnered runner-up honors behind teammate Tyson Gay in the 200-meter dash with a time of 20.54.
At the mideast regionals he competed in the 200-meter dash and was on the 4×100-meter relay. His relay team claimed first place (39.18). He went on to earn runner-up honors behind teammate Tyson Gay in the 200 with a wind-aided time of 20.21.
Sandfort, a Finance and Banking Major, is a 13-time All-SEC and six-time All-American runner. He is a member of the Southeastern Conference and Lon Farrell Academic Honor Rolls. At the SEC Outdoor Championships he garnered runner-up honors in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meter runs. He also finished 12th in the 10K run at the NCAA Championships, earning his final All-America accolade of the year.
Sandfort shared the men’s scholar athlete of the year award with Leevan Sands of Auburn.
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