FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After a slow start to the Tyson Invitational, the Razorbacks surged during the evening session and came away with four NCAA provisional-qualifying marks but still lack that elusive automatic qualifier.
“The 5,000 meters was a real high point for Peter Kosgei and Scott MacPherson,” head coach John McDonnell said. “(Their times) should get them into the national meet. I was really happy for Scott MacPherson. You expect (that kind of performance) from Peter. He’s a national-class athlete but that was a huge improvement for Scott.”
Peter Kosgei and Scott MacPherson followed their race plans almost perfectly in the 5,000 meters and both came away with qualifying times. Kosgei, clocking a 13:48.30, and MacPherson, following with a 13:49.03, were running for an automatic time but just missed the 13:48.00 standard.
“I was hoping for something better then that,” Kosgei said. “I didn’t get the automatic time but I did what I could. I run for automatic times; that’s what I like.”
In only his second appearance ever in the indoor 5,000 meters, MacPherson ran a personal-best and eclipsed his previous best of 14:49.06 by more then one minute.
“I was really happy with the race,” MacPherson said. “It was pretty much exactly the time I wanted. I don’t usually give myself a time to run because you either hit or you don’t and it’s such a fine line. I wanted to get out there because it was a lot of good competition. It was a good race for me to get my name out there. I snuck in there behind the guys and James Strang and Nephi Tyler did any amazing job of pacing the race. They were so fluid and so perfect. I felt really comfortable.”
Paced by James Strang and Nephi Tyler, Reid Coolsaet of Reebok won the event with a time of 13:42.84, currently the fastest time in the world.
The long jump proved to be a successful event for the Hogs again this weekend. Both Mychael Stewart and Alain Bailey came away with their third provisional-qualifying mark in the event. Bailey finished sixth with a leap of 25-0.5 and Stewart was eighth with a 24-8.5 but neither improved their season best leaps (Bailey, 25-0.75; Stewart, 25-1.25).
“I think when they ease up a little bit in work outs, they have been working really hard, when they get their legs back under them, they will jump a lot better,” McDonnell said.
The 800-meter Olympic Development heats started off strong for the Hogs with Brian Roe in heat one and Colin Costello in heat two. Roe took the first heat out strong but fell after a lap and a half. Costello also took the second heat out quickly but faded with a lap to go and finished 10th overall with a time of 1:52.97.
“The 800-meter runs were going well until Brian (Roe) fell,” McDonnell said. “Colin (Costello) thought he was going to blow those guys away and he took the lead early. He paid the price at the end. But he learned from it.”
Paced by former Hog and two-time NCAA Champion Josphat Boit, Alistair Cragg and Seth Summerside ran a blistering 3,000-meter race. Kevin Sullivan of Reebok won the event with a time of 7:40.17, a new Canadian record. Cragg finished third with a 7:43.30 and Summerside, another former Hog, was eighth with a clocking of 8:04.59.
The USA 4×400-meter relay fought off a strong Baylor squad but still managed to pull off a victory. However, the team did not come close to the world record of 3:01.96, set at the 2006 Tyson Invitational, with their winning time of 3:04.97. Wallace Spearmon led off and handed the baton to Andrew Rock with the team in second place behind the Baylor Bears. Rock handed off to former LSU phenom Xavier Carter. Carter passed the third Baylor leg, Kevin Mutai, but Mutai passed Carter right before the last hand off. LaShawn Merritt took the stick for the final lap and chased down Baylor’s anchor, LaJerald Betters, and surged Team USA to the win.
The Tyson Invitational will resume Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. For complete results of the Tyson Invitational, visit www.hogwired.com or www.tysoninvitational.org.