10 in a Row 4x1500M Wins at Texas Relays

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. Rain and a wet surface Friday morning didn’t hinder Arkansas track and field at the 81st Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. The Hogs, in their first full day of competition, claimed four regional-qualifying marks and won Arkansas’ 10th-straight Texas Relays title in the 4×1,500-meter relay.

The quartet of Michael Chinchar, Shawn Forrest, Daniel LaCava and Andy McClary combined for a clocking of 15:27.41 to take Arkansas’ 10th-straight win in the event and the Hogs’ 54th Texas Relays title.

“I’m very happy for our guys because this is our first outdoor meet,” head coach John McDonnell said. “We haven’t done any speed work yet, especially with Shawn Forrest. It’s very encouraging.”

Freshman Chinchar led off with a strong 3:51.56 leg to hand to Forrest. Forrest moved Arkansas into the lead and stayed steady for his leg, clocking a split of 3:47.10. Forrest handed to LaCava who kept Arkansas’ lead going strong and ran a 3:55.5 split. All-American McClary anchored, making his Razorback outdoor debut, and split 3:50.4 to take the tape.

“It was a nice run,” McDonnell said. “It was a good run and a good win for our guys. Michael Chinchar, a freshman, ran really well and that can be a pressure situation for a freshman but he rose to the challenge. Shawn Forrest blew the race open for us. (Daniel) LaCava maintained Shawn’s lead. Andy did a great job on the anchor.”

Arkansas’ 4×100-meter relay did in its first appearance of 2008 what it took three weeks to accomplish in 2007. The quartet, Cedric Zellner, Alain Bailey, Mychael Stewart and J-Mee Samuels, dipped below the regional-qualifying time of 40.66 in Friday morning’s prelims. Clocking a time of 40.50, the group finished ninth overall and will compete in Saturday’s finals.

“That 4x100M was great with a solid time of 40.50,” McDonnell said. “They ran in pretty blustery conditions and they are in the final. Hopefully, tomorrow they will improve their time but it’s important that they got the regional-qualifying time.”

More success followed with the long jump as Daniel Quinn and Mychael Stewart solidified their spots in post-season competition. Quinn finished third overall with an illegal wind (4.2) mark of 24-9. However, within his series, he marked a jump of 24-6.25 with a legal wind of 3.1. The mark is a regional qualifier, ranks third in the SEC and is the second-best mark in his outdoor career.

Stewart finished fifth overall with a leap of 24-2.5 and a legal wind of 2.8. His mark is a regional qualifier and ranks fourth in the SEC.

Kyle Komarek made his 2008 debut in the javelin with a personal-best throw of 211-8, good for a fourth-place finish. His throw is also his first regional-qualifying mark of the season and ranks fifth in the SEC.

At the Stanford Invitational, James Strang punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships with an automatic-qualifying time of 28:38.62 in the 10,000 meters. His time, a personal best, ranks seventh in the nation, with the top times in the nation clocked at Stanford on Friday, and first in the SEC.

Tyler Hill finished 21st in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:25.13. Peter Kosgei started the same 5K race but stepped off the track.

For complete details of Arkansas track and field, visit www.hogwired.com.