Thomas Breaks UA Hurdle Record and Hogs Pick U
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A school record fell for the second time in as many weeks and the Razorbacks earned yet another qualifier for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships to highlight the second day of competition on Saturday at the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa.
Sophomore Michael Thomas posted a school record time of 7.81 in the 60-meter hurdles on his way to finishing second in the event. Thomas broke the previous UA mark set just last weekend by teammate Eddie Jackson (7.81) at the Tyson Invitational. Jackson also qualified for the finals by posting a time of 7.99 in the preliminaries, but failed to finish the championship race after hitting a hurdle.
“Michael ran a great race and got himself a school record,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “I have been very pleased with Michael and Eddie. They have come along beautifully. They have the potential to give us some points at the national meet. That would come in really handy in the team national championship race.”
Arkansas also picked up another provisional qualifier in the mile on Saturday afternoon. Freshman Said Ahmed crossed the line fourth with a time of 4:04.34. Ahmed became the fourth Razorback to garner a qualifying time in the event joining teammates Dirk Heinze, Chris Mulvaney and James Hatch.
Freshman Michael Taylor narrowly missed a provisional qualification in the same race. Taylor placed fifth with a time of 4:05.88. The provisional standard for the mile is 4:05.20.
“Those two kids ran really well,” McDonnell said. “The pace was really slow. Said did a great job and Michael just missed getting a provisional as well. We are getting some good depth in the distance races. I feel good about the people we have qualified in those events.”
Freshman Ahmad Carroll turned in another solid effort in the 60-meter dash. A cornerback on the UA football team, Carroll has become the Hogs’ most consistent sprinter. On Saturday night, Carroll finished fourth in the finals with a time of 6.75. Sophomores Lawrence Richardson (7.08) and Fred Talley (7.09) also competed in the 60-meter dash preliminaries, but didn’t qualify for the finals.
“Our sprinters have started to make a move,” McDonnell said. “Ahmad has added a lot to our sprinter lineup. For all of the football guys, it is just a matter of getting some more races. They are still trying to get adjusted to the track season.”
Sophomore Maurice Robinson placed fifth and improved his provisional mark in the triple jump. Robinson jumped 51-11.25, an improvement more than eight inches from his previous season best. In other field event action, freshman Jonathan Reeves posted a throw of 56-10.75 in the shot put to finish seventh.
In other action on the track, junior Josh Landreth finished 14th in the 400-meter dash with a season-best time of 48.44 while freshman Chason Pompey placed 58th in 50.31. Freshman James Hatch ran his first collegiate 800 and posted a 25th-place finish with a time of 1:52.25. Sophomore William Porr finished in 1:55.59 to place 53rd.
Sophomores Westley Alkin (8:14.97) and Silverus Kimeli (8:15.94) finished 14th and 17th respectively in the 3,000-meter run. Junior Patrick Thomas crossed the line 44th with a 8:31.64 clip.
“It was a pretty good weekend,” McDonnell said. “In the field events, the jumpers are looking better. They have kept the right attitude. Hopefully in two weeks they will let it loose. We are looking good in the distance races. We got the right people qualified.
“The only thing that we didn’t get done was improving our time in the distance medley relay. It was a shame, because I think we were going to have a good time until we dropped the baton. Our time right now would get us in, but we can’t take that chance.”
Following the weekend’s action, the Hogs own four automatic and 12 provisional qualifiers for the NCAA Indoor Championships in a total of eight events.
McDonnell said he is considering sending the UA sprinters or a DMR team to a meet in Oklahoma next weekend, but other than that the Hogs will rest in anticipation of the league meet. Arkansas will be seeking its 10th league title in 11 tries when it hosts the rest of the conference for the 2002 Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 22-24 at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark.
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