DES MOINES, Iowa – Shawn Forrest and James Strang earned All-America honors for Arkansas Razorback track and field on day two of the NCAA Championships at Drake Stadium.
“James and Shawn had a great race, they just went a bit too fast at the beginning and it hurt them a little,” head coach John McDonnell said. “The way Shawn finished that race and how fast he was going, wow, what a great finish for him. He’s back at his true form. His finish didn’t surprise, the way he did surprised be a little bit.”
A valiant effort by both harriers, their push-the-pace plan nearly worked in their favor. Strang and Forrest took turns leading for nearly 6,000 meters until the rest of the pack caught up to them.
After the frontrunners packed up, Forrest and Strang battled among the top eight, fighting for a lead. With 800 meters to go the defending champion, Shadrack Sangok of Texas A&M Corpus Christi took off and Forrest went with him. Battling down the home stretch, Sangok had just a bit more left than Forrest and took him at the home stretch.
Forrest’s time of 28:47.08 was good for a runner-up and finish and the first All-America honor of his career. Strang finished ninth with a time of 29:10.73. He also earned All-America honors for the first time in his Arkansas career. Strang was a multi-time All-American while running at Colorado.
“I didn’t really know how the race would go, I just wanted to go from the gun and it worked out,” Forrest said. “We slowed up the pace a bit there at the beginning, you can’t win a race in the first laps so we might as well use them all. It is a good feeling to leave here happy and take a bit of a break to get ready for indoors. James and I are teammates and we might as well use each other. It felt really good running together, it was almost like a training run.”
Alain Bailey couldn’t get his rhythm going in the long jump finals Thursday afternoon. His best jump measured 25-0.75 and he finished 12th. He did not advance to the final three jumps.
“I had a shin splint, I wouldn’t say that it was a big problem, but it was hurting,” Bailey said. “I am not trying to make any excuses though I jumped poorly today and all weekend I was jumping poorly, that’s all it is. The first two jumps I didn’t touch the board, the last jump I had a pretty good shot, it just wasn’t enough to make the final. I’ll come out next year stronger and better.”
Arkansas’ events will begin at 4:15 p.m. on Friday with Spencer McCorkel in the pole vault finals and Nkosinza Balumbu in the triple jump.
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esults from the NCAA Championships, visit