FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — In the inaugural meet of the Randal Tyson Track Center, the crowd of 3,500 saw some of the best collegiate track action in the nation. Arkansas men’s track team took full advantage of the new facility by qualifying another five athletes brings the total to 24 Razorbacks going to nationals.
“This is a fast track,” head coach John McDonnell said. “We didn’t do all the fast running but we did have some performances that were good. The triple jump and the 5,000 went really well.”
Arkansas continues to dominate in the jumps provisionally qualifying Enrico Gordon and automatically qualifying freshman Jason Ward. Ward leaped 53 feet, 11 inches in the triple jump, the second best mark in the nation behind teammate Melvin Lister. The Hogs have now qualified four Razorbacks in the triple jump.
The 5,000m proved to be an excellent race for the Hogs. Three Razorbacks were able to vie for their spot in the national meet. Senior Andrew Begley provisionally qualified with a 13:58.58, 43-hundredths of a second shy of an automatic time. Sharif Karie and Alan Dunleavy were also under the provisional qualifying mark.
In the hurdles, the Hogs continue to rally around Sean Lightfoot in the hurdles. Qualifying four for the finals of the event, Lightfoot ran a 7.87 second time to win the 60m hurdles.
“When you have Clemson, TCU and some of the best sprint teams in the country, so you get some of the guys that think that they are sprinters that just came out realize that they have a lot of work to do,” assistant coach Steve Silvey said. “Some of these guys will have to keep preparing and hopefully by March we can have a great outdoor season. The hurdlers did well but they have to keep stepping up. We have to find the men that want to compete and win conference an he national championship next week.”
The Tyson Invitational was also a recording making meet in two running events. Stanford won the men’s distance medley relay with a 9:30.19, the third best collegiate time ever in the event. They are third to George Washington and Arkansas. The 200m race was also thrilling with Shawn Crawford of Clemson recording the world’s best time in 2000 by running a 20.62.
The second day of the Tyson Invitational will take place Sunday.
“The best of international stars will be here,” McDonnell said. “Our better guys are coming in every event so hopefully the fans will have something to cheer about tomorrow.
The Tyson Invitational will begin 1 p.m. with the dedication ceremonies. Events will begin at 2 p.m. Live coverage of the meet will begin at 3 p.m. CST.