FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Three individual performances and a strong distance medley relay highlighted day one of competition at the Razorback Invitational for Arkansas. The Track Hogs added four NCAA provisional-qualifying marks to their growing list.
“Every leg (of the distance medley relay) did exactly what we wanted them to do, on both teams,” head coach John McDonnell said. “It’s good to get the provisional time out of the way. The automatic time will come. We can still do a lot better but we are on the right track.”
Arkansas’ “A” team distance medley relay ran a stellar race that finished with an NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 9:38.37. Daniel LaCava led off with a 2:55 1,200-meter leg. He handed off to Chris Bilbrew for the 400-meter leg. Bilbrew’s 400-meter split of 48.0 allowed him to hand off to Alex McClary in the lead.
Alex split 1:50 on the 800-meter leg and handed to his brother, Andy, for the mile anchor leg. Andy clocked a 4:05 split to secure the win. Arkansas’ winning time of 9:38.37 is the second fastest in the nation and the top time in the SEC.
“I have trained with (Andy) every day of my life so it was normal for us to be out there together,” Alex McClary said. “I don’t know if I’m satisfied with the race but I was happy to hand off in the lead.”
“It has been great running in an Arkansas uniform,” Andy McClary said. “It’s really good to be racing with Alex, too. We were going for time in this race and it was getting hard to push it at the end when we broke away. It was great to get the win.”
“The McClary brothers showed me they have potential tonight,” McDonnell said. “Alex was able to pull away on the 800-meter leg and so was Andy running the mile. That’s a key to their race. They are big kickers.”
Alain Bailey won the long jump with an NCAA provisional-qualifying mark of 25-7.25 to beat out the 35 other competitors. Bailey hit his winning mark, a personal best, on his first attempt of the prelims. Bailey’s mark leads the SEC by almost a foot and ranks second on the national list.
“We all agreed that we had a good first but meet but we didn’t win some events,” field events coach Dick Booth said. “We told the guys that heights and distances would come but we needed to start winning some events and protecting our turf. Today we won the long jump and the pole vault. The distance medley relay looked awesome and got a win. We are starting to look like a real Razorback team.”
Daniel Quinn finished third in the long jump with a personal-best jump of 25-0. Coming on his first attempt of the finals, Quinn also hit the NCAA provisional-qualifying mark and eclipsed his previous record by seven inches. Quinn ranks second in the SEC and No. 3 in the nation. Mychael Stewart finished sixth in the event with a mark of 24-6.25.
Spencer McCorkel improved his NCAA provisional mark in the pole vault. He won the event with a clearance of 17-2.75 in a field of 27 competitors. McCorkel bested his jump of 17-0.75 from the Arkansas Invitational two weeks ago. His clearance of 17-2.75 sits at tied for No. 6 on the national performance list and ties for first in the SEC.
“I’m very happy with the win tonight,” McCorkel said. “It’s just a matter of becoming more comfortable with collegiate competition. I feel like I’m getting accustomed to what’s going and now, hopefully, I’ll be able to put up some big marks.”
J-Mee Samuels made his 2008 debut in the 200 meters. He finished 11th of the 58 competitors with a time of 21.64. Samuels’ time currently sits at No. 3 in the SEC rankings. He will also compete in the 60 meters on Saturday.
Arkansas’ “B” distance medley relay clocked a time of 9:52.01, good for a third-place finish, with a squad of Duncan Phillips (1,200 meters; 2:57.8), Kent Austell (400 meters; 49.8), Michael Chinchar (800 meters; 1:54) and Chris Barnicle (mile; 4:08.7).
Boris Roslov opened the meet for the Hogs with day one of the heptathlon. He is in fifth place with 2,776 points. He posted marks of 7.15 in the 60 meters, 21-8.75 in the long jump, 35-5.25 in the shot put and 6-1.5 in the high jump. His shot put throw is a personal best and he finished second overall in the 60 meters.
Arkansas will return to the track tomorrow, Jan. 26, for the conclusion of the Razorback Invitational. Running events will begin at 10 a.m., the conclusion of the heptathlon at 11 a.m., field events at 2 p.m. and running finals at 3 p.m. Log on to www.hogwired.com for more news about Razorback track and field.
Download: RBack Invite day 1.pdf