PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Despite clear and sunny conditions, Arkansas’ stream of bad luck on the track continued on the final day of competition at the 113th Penn Relays. This is only the second time in a 23-year history that the Hogs have not won a relay title. The last time Arkansas did not bring home a Wagon Wheel was in 2005.
After Scott MacPherson hit the steeple barrier Thursday night and Brian Roe pulled up during the sprint medley relay on Friday night, Arkansas’s last chance at a victory on the track was in Saturday’s 4xMile championships.
The defending champions in the event, the Hogs put Matt Munoz on the lead leg, Micky Cobrin on the second leg, 10-time All-American Peter Kosgei on the third leg and five-time All-American Adam Perkins on the anchor leg.
Munoz started strong and ran a solid opening leg. He handed off to Cobrin in third place. Cobrin stayed with the lead pack that included Wisconsin, Oregon, Texas and Michigan, until he tripped right around the 200-meter start, about 1,000 meters into his leg. He fell behind badly and couldn’t recover to make up any ground.
Cobrin handed off to Kosgei, who quickly tried to make up some ground. He slowly picked off some runners and handed to Perkins in 11th-place.
Perkins took off, running solid and holding his pace. He crept up to the second pack of runners, who stayed about 25 meters behind the lead pack for the final leg. Perkins, splitting under four minutes, made up some ground but couldn’t catch up to the lead pack. He finished eighth with a very strong anchor leg and a time of 16:34.52. Texas was the eventual race winner.
“Yesterday’s race (the distance medley relay) was a real shock to us,” Perkins said. “Coach (John McDonnell) isn’t here to get on me so I had to get on myself. Matt (Munoz) ran really well for usually running the longer distances. He got in there and competed. So did Peter (Kosgei). I did all that I could (playing catch up on the anchor leg). It was definitely a learning experience for all of us. I expected a victory and I’m disappointed we are leaving empty handed. I’m a senior and I have never won a Wagon Wheel. It’s frustrating.”
Good news in the javelin, however, as freshman Kyle Komarek recorded his first NCAA regional-qualifying mark. Komarek finished fourth overall with a throw of 206-7, a collegiate and personal best.
In alumni news, former Hogs Tyson Gay and Wallace Spearmon ran the first and second legs, respectively, of the USA Red team in the USA vs. The World 4×100-meter relay. They teamed with Darvis Patton and Shawn Crawford to clock the winning time of 38.35.
In a final preparation for the 2007 SEC Outdoor Championships, the Hogs will host the Arkansas Twilight, Fri., May 4. For complete results of Penn Relays, visit www.pennrelaysonline.com.