Ten Razorbacks Advance to Next Round at NCAA C
BY ANDRES FOCIL
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Rare rain and cool temperatures plagued the first day of the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, but that didn’t slow down top-ranked Arkansas as all but two of its 12 athletes advanced to the next round of the their respective events.
“So far today has been perfect,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with how things have turned out. The weather is unbelievable for here. It just goes to show you anything can happen, but it’s not bad and it’s working well for us.”
Junior Eric Brown was the top finisher in his flight of the javelin after he threw 221-04 in less than favorable conditions. His mark placed him at seventh overall and advanced him to the 12-man finals on Friday at 5 p.m. The preliminaries’ top throw came from Dartmouth’s Sean Furey (234-02).
The 4×100-meter relay team of freshman Michael Grant, sophomore Wallace Spearmon Jr., and seniors Tyson Gay and Omar Brown put their full-body racing suits to use for the first-time this season and continued their winning ways with a first-place showing in their heat with a time of 39.20. It was the fifth-fastest time overall and should put them in lane four for the finals on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
“We ran very cautiously today and just wanted to get the baton around to get into the finals,” Arkansas sprints coach Lance Brauman said. “We had three bad handoffs, but we’ll get those worked out for Friday.”
Senior James Hatch will move on to the semifinals of the 800 meters after he crossed the line in second in the final heat with a time of 1:47.98. NCAA mideast region champion Andrew Ellerton of Michigan took the tape with the fastest qualifying time of 1:47.88, with the semis scheduled for Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
The rain came down harder when senior Terry Gatson prepared for the 400 meters and after his blocks slipped on the first start the group was called back to begin again. He rebounded well and finished second in his heat with a time of 46.09, the seventh-fastest overall. His top-two performance will advance him to the semifinals on Friday at 7:20 p.m.
Even though senior P.J. Brown was ranked 24th entering the pole vault he didn’t let that deter him from qualifying for the finals of the event. Brown persevered through the rain and wind and recorded no misses as he was one of 13 competitors to clear 16-10.75. The finals will take place on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Quality performance kept coming for Arkansas when sophomore Peter Kosgei set a new personal-best time in the prelims of the 3,000-meter steeplechase. He dominated and won his heat with the fastest qualifying time of 8:32.97 and is set to run the finals on Friday at 6:50 p.m. His previous best time of 8:35.40 was registered at the McDonnell Invitational in April.
Junior Jose Campos also posted a career-best time in the steeplechase. Campos has improved every time he competes and Wednesday night was no different as he finished with a time of 8:46.82 for 10th place in the first heat. Unfortunately his efforts were not enough to qualify for the finals and he was 18th overall.
The 5,000 meters were the final running event of the night and junior Josphat Boit was the only Razorback to advance to the finals by virtue of his finish. Boit grabbed the sixth and final qualifying position with a time of 14:21.71, while junior Seth Summerside was close behind in seventh (14:21.83). Summerside missed qualifying to the finals by one position after all the timed qualifiers came from the second and much faster heat. The 10th place finisher in the second heat ran a 14:02.07.
“Seth (Summerside) was a tenth of a second out of the finals,” McDonnell said. “If he was in the other heat he would have made it in. I wish they would have run a nice and steady pace like the other heat.”
On Thursday sophomore Greg Martin will start the day off for Arkansas in the high jump at 12:30 p.m. The first round of the 200 meters includes Brown, Gay and Spearmon and they will hope to move on to the semis held later that day at 7:05 p.m.
The first round of the 1,500 meters is set to take place at 6:30 p.m. with sophomore mideast champion Adam Perkins representing Arkansas. A trio of Hogs, including senior Jason Sandfort, junior Josphat Boit and sophomore Peter Kosgei are ready to score big points for the team in the finals of 10,000 meters at 9:20 p.m. Boit and Kosgei are currently ranked second and third in the nation.
* – All times listed for the pacific time zone
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