Ten Razorbacks Qualify for NCAA Championships
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Ten Arkansas track athletes have qualified for the 2004 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships as announced by the NCAA office. The Razorbacks will look to successfully defend their title and claim their 18th national indoor crown this weekend when the NCAA Championships are held at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark.
The 10 Razorback athletes will be competing in eight events during the two-day meet on March 12-13. After coming in a close second place at the SEC Championships Arkansas is more than ready to take its talents to the national level in search of a title.
Two Razorbacks will represent UA in more than one event. Senior Alistair Cragg will run in both the 3,000 and 5,000-meter runs. He will enter the races as the defending champion and is a heavy favorite to repeat in 2004 as he carries times of 7:38.59 and 13:42.95, respectively. His 3K time is also the collegiate record. Finals for the 5,000 meters are on Friday at 8:30 p.m. and the 3,000-meter finals will start at 7:50 p.m. on Saturday.
Sophomore Tyson Gay will also double for UA’s cause and take to the track in the 60 and 200-meter dashes. Gay has broken school records in each event almost every time he has competed and has become the Hogs’ top sprinter. His 60-meter time of 6.57 is second-best in the country, while his time of 20.40 in the 200 is the fastest in the nation and the world this year.
Freshman Wallace Spearmon is set to join Gay in the 200 meters with the third-best time (20.74) in the nation that he posted in his first race in an Arkansas jersey at the Tyson Invitational.
Preliminary heats for both events are on Friday with the 60-meter dash at 6:30 p.m. and the 200-meter dash at 7:35 p.m. The finals for the 200 will also take place on Friday at 9 p.m. The 60-meter dash finals are on Saturday at 7:25 p.m.
In the mile run senior Chris Mulvaney will look to defend his national title with a top time of 3:59.72 from the Tyson Invitational. His time is fourth in the country and one of seven sub-fours recorded this season. Prelims are set for Friday at 7:05 p.m., with the finals at 6:25 p.m. on Saturday.
Senior Michael Thomas will see action in the 60-meter hurdles for the third-straight year after claiming fourth place in 2003 and seventh in 2002. His top time of 7.69 is third in the country. Prelims are at 5:20 p.m. on Friday, with the finals later that evening at 8:20 p.m.
Junior transfer Terry Gatson will represent UA in the 400-meter dash and enters the race with a time of 46.35. The prelims are at 5:50 p.m. on Friday and the finals will take place at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.
The distance medley realy team will look to redeem itself from last year’s ninth-place showing as freshmen Ryan Botha, Sam Vazquez, junior Michael Taylor and senior Maurice Bridges will handle baton duties. Junior James Hatch and Gatson will serve as alternates.
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