FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The 2009 Tyson Invitational was a whirlwind of activity for Arkansas Razorback men’s track and field on Friday. The Razorbacks picked up two NCAA automatic qualifiers and a slew of season bests.
Senior Shawn Forrest in the 5,000 meters and junior Alain Bailey in the long jump picked up the auto marks. Senior Alex McClary improved his provisional mark in the 800 meters and the 4×400-meter relay clocked a season best. Junior Dorian Ulrey was on pace to clock a great mile time until he was tripped on the bell lap.
"That was really a great race for Shawn," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "He ran really smart. As you can see his fitness is great at this point in the season. Shawn is a huge asset for us come conference and NCAA time. We are training to peak for the championships."
"I saw Dorian’s fall on the video board," Bucknam said. "The guy that might have clipped his legs but probably didn’t mean to. It’s just part of indoor track. You’ve got to be careful. Dorian looked good. You can look in a guy’s eyes and see he’s focused on things, and he’s on a mission."
Forrest had a stellar 5K race and finished fifth in a field that included some of the world’s best distance runners and the 2008 NCAA Cross Country Champion, Galen Rupp of Oregon. Forrest’s time of 13:37.77 is No. 3 on the Arkansas all-time list, is No. 3 on the NCAA list and leads the SEC. The time is also a personal best for the Melbourne, Australia native.
"I knew it was going to be competitive," Forrest said. "I knew it was going to go fast, that it was going to be a great pace. I wanted to put myself in the middle and just hang. Towards the end they stirred things up. I couldn’t tag onto the end. In the last K they took off."
"It’s refreshing (to get a personal best time)," Forrest said. "I’m happy. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. The crowd was great. The support was great."
Bekana Daba of Ethiopia and adidas won the race with a time of 13:17.89, a new facility record and the 2009 world leader. Rupp was second in a time of 13:18.12, a new collegiate record, a new American record and the second-fastest time in the world this year. Rupp broke the previous collegiate record of 13:28.93 held by former Arkansas great Alistair Cragg.
Bailey finally put all the pieces together in the long jump and soared to a mark of 25-10.25. The jump is an NCAA auto qualifier, a season best, ties his indoor personal best, leads the SEC and ranks No. 2 on the NCAA list.
School record holder in the distance medley relay, McClary fared well in a talented heat of the 800 meters. He finished fifth with a time of 1:49.37. His time is an improved NCAA provisional mark, ranks No. 8 on the NCAA list and is currently the No. 2 time in the SEC.
"I thought it was a good race," McClary said. "I didn’t do exactly what I wanted but I still got some things accomplished. I’ll improve as the year goes along."
"I had a good first lap," McClary said. "Everyone was pretty aggressive out there, pushing and shoving. I was really happy with my last lap. It’s just a matter of getting that middle part of the race up to the same speed as everything else. If that happens then I should be in good shape."
Competition at the Tyson Invitational continues Saturday, Feb. 14. For complete results and more information about Arkansas track and field, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.