FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas ended the 2000 indoor season exactly where it began – on top with its 35th overall track title and 16th national indoor title Saturday afternoon.
In front of 5,350 fans, Arkansas delivered 69.5 overall points to claim the 2000 NCAA Indoor title. The Razorback’s field event crew collected 46.5 points on their way to the championship.
“The crowd here was awesome,” head coach John McDonnell said. “It was easily worth a few points and they definitely kept our guys going in the 3000. Our guys were tired. James Karanu showed a lot of character. He is not really not a 3000 runner but he got some points.”
Senior Melvin Lister successfully defended his 1999 national triple jump championship by leaping a 54-7.5. Lister scored 20 points in the 2000 indoor championships with his victories in the long jump on Friday and the triple jump this Saturday afternoon.
“I had no doubts going in,” Lister said. “In my heart I knew that I was going to win, it was just a matter of staying comfortable and staying relaxed. This feels so good. I like to see freshman (Jason Ward) come up big like that. This was my last indoor competition and I am proud to leave it in his hands.”
Freshman Jason Ward placed second in the triple jump with his final jump of 54-6. Going into the last jump, Ward was in fifth place after five jumps. With the support of the fans, Ward leaped his personal best in the finals.
“Our guys had to feed off the crowd,” McDonnell said. “When Ward made his jump the building almost collapsed.”
Going into the 3000m race and the triple jump, Arkansas held onto a four-point lead over second place Stanford. With Lister and Ward’s performances, the 3000m race with James Karanu and Sharif Karie was an essential event.
With four Stanford runners in the event, Karie and Karanu were able to place third and fifth respectively. Karie ran a personal best 8:01.10 and earned six points in the event.
“The feeling coming around the final two laps was awesome and something that I will always remember,” Karie said. “The crowd was so loud that I could feel it as I ran.”
Karanu earned his second All-America honor in the 3000m with his 8:02.97 finish.
The men’s mile was an exciting events for the Hogs. Ryan Travis and Murray Link were the two Razorbacks represented in the event.
Travis finished the race in fourth place with a time of 4:01.93. Link placed seventh in the mile with a time of 4:03.34.
Twelve Razorbacks claimed All-America honors in the 2000 NCAA Championships.
“This one was special because we won it at home,” McDonnell said. “This was the sweetest national championship of all because it was at home.”
Next for the Razorbacks is the outdoor season beginning in Columbia, S.C. March 15, at an SEC Quad.
FINAL TEAM SCORING
1. ARKANSAS 69.5; 2. Stanford 52; 3. SMU 38; 4. TCU 34; 5. Alabama 29; 5. Florida 29; 7. LSU 28; 8. South Carolina 20; 8. South Alabama 20; 10. Arizona State 16.