DURHAM, N.C. – Arkansas’ track teams expectations are still high after minor set backs after the first day of the 2000 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track Championships in Durham, North Carolina.
The Razorbacks are in a tie for fifth place after scoring five points in one event. Auburn leads after the first day with 16 points won in the discus. Mississippi is in second with 10 points scored with a win in the long jump. Wyoming and Arizona State are in a tie for fourth.
Samuel Glover and James Karanu were two Hogs, which have advanced to the finals in their events.
Glover place first in his heat as well as had the fastest qualifying time in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles.
“I knew that I had some great hurdlers in the race with me,” Glover said. “My goal was to go in and win the heat then try to go into the finals with at least one of the top two times.”
Glover ran a very strong race especially in the final 150-meters.
“I got out decently,” Glover said. “My steps were a little missed up down the back stretch but I felt so comfortable throughout the whole race. I wasn’t all out and I felt the most relaxed that I have felt all year.”
“He looked good,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “He is a competitor. Hopefully if things pan out he could get us some points in the finals.”
Karanu successfully qualified or the finals of the 800-meter dash. He placed first in his heat, but had the slowest qualifying time.
“I didn’t get out as fast as I normally do,” Karanu said. “I normally get to the cones and cut fast in front of the other guys, but there were two guys in front of me and I couldn’t get to the inner lane. So they blocked me in until about 150-meters to go.”
Through the first half of the race, Karanu was boxed in biding his time. He would later cruise past the others in the final 100-meter of the race.
“I was patient,” Karanu said. “I knew that I had enough energy to get through the last one hundred yards, so I wasn’t that worried. All I wanted to do was to make it to the finals.”
Four-time national champion Melvin Lister was the first Razorback to score, but did not meet his own expectations.
He placed fourth with a jump of 26 feet.
“Melvin Lister did not have a super day,” McDonnell said. “Melvin has been so consistent that we were banking on 10 points from him. Any cushion that we might have had is practically gone. Now we have to dig in and go on from here.”
Freshman Daniel Lincoln’s attempt to qualify for the finals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase was cut short as he was tripped from behind with three laps to go in the race heat.
“Lincoln falling in the steeplechase was a big blow,” McDonnell said. “We were certain that he would qualify for the finals. He got tripped from behind which hurt him in the race.”
Arkansas’ 4×100-meter relay team faltered a bit in a sixth place finish in thier heat knocking them out of the finals.
“Tomorrow is a big day for us,” McDonnell said. “We have the shot, the heats in the 1,600-meter relay, we have three guys in the 1,500m run, the high hurdles and the 10,000-meter. We have to get things in line tomorrow.”
The Hogs will compete in five events Thursday afternoon.
“From here on out we have to just dig in and get after it.” McDonnell said.”