Track Hogs win SEC title
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Propelled by six individual titles, Arkansas Razorback men’s track and field won its 93rd conference title overall (cross country, indoor and outdoor), its 24th conference outdoor title and its 15th SEC outdoor title. The Razorbacks have won five of the last six SEC Outdoor team titles.
The Razorbacks scored 141 points to edge out the hosting Florida Gators who racked up 129 points for a runner-up finish. LSU rounded out the top three with 98.5 points.
"It’s in our DNA that our guys rise to the occasion at the SEC Championships," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "It’s just a great performance all the way around. It was a great effort. We handled the humidity really well. These guys came in with a mission. We knew our back were against the wall. We knew that Florida is a great team, on their home track, and we just got it done. We had some clutch performances by our upperclassmen and that made the difference."
Junior Dorian Ulrey won his third SEC individual title and his first in outdoor track on Sunday. He took the 1,500 meter title with a time of 3:41.39 to earn his third All-SEC honor. He led a 1-2-4 finish for Arkansas in the event.
"The last lap was a lot harder than it looked," Ulrey said. "I just tried to be composed. We wanted to go 1-2-3 but 1 -2,-4 is not bad. The last 200 meters was pretty much just running for team points."
Ulrey won Arkansas’ 12th SEC 1,500-meter title since 1992 and is the first Hog to win the event since Alistair Cragg took the title in 2004. Arkansas has now won 12 of the 18 SEC 1,500-meter titles since 1992.
Senior Andy McClary added to Arkansas’ points with a runner-up finish and a time of 3:41.96. He earned his second All-SEC honor. Sophomore Michael Chinchar was fourth with a personal best and regional-qualifying time of 3:45.68. The Hogs picked up 23 points in the 1,500 meters.
The 800-meter finals yielded 23 points for the Hogs as senior Alex McClary took the win and led a 1-3-5-6 finish for Arkansas in the event. McClary took the win in dominating fashion, clocking a personal-best time of 1:47.78 after taking the lead from the start and never letting go.
"I couldn’t ask for much better as an individual," Alex McClary said. "We got team points and that’s what we came here for. That’s all that matters. I wanted to stay as relaxed as possible and that’s exactly what happened."
Alex McClary won Arkansas’ seventh SEC 800-meter title since 1992 and he is the first Hog to win the event since James Hatch in 2005.
In their second races of the day, Ulrey finished third with a 1:48.46 and Andy McClary was fifth, clocking a 1:49.19. Sophomore Chris Bilbrew was sixth with his time of 1:49.30.
Heading in to the 5,000 meters, Arkansas held a 124-121 lead over the charging Florida Gators. Senior Shawn Forrest put all worries to rest with a dominating win in the distance event. He clocked a time of 13:43.51 to win his first SEC individual title and earn his eighth All-SEC honor.
"I just wanted to make it a solid pace," Forrest said. "I guess I just got out there in front and was feeling good. I was going for the win and that’s a great achievement."
Forrest won Arkansas’ 12th SEC 5,000-meter title since 1992. Arkansas has now won eight of the last nine 5K titles and has collected 12 of the 18 5K crowns awarded since 1992.
Senior Scott MacPherson, running in his third event in three days, was monumental with a fourth-place finish behind Forrest. He clocked a time of 14:05.57. MacPherson wrapped up the weekend scoring 21 points with a bronze finish in the 10K, a win in the steeplechase and a fourth-place finish in the 5,000 meters.
Arkansas’ first event of the day, the triple jump, grabbed 14 points. Senior Nkosinza Balumbu was unable to defend his title but picked up a runner-up finish with his jump of 51-7.75. He nearly took the lead on his final jump but it was deemed a foul. Balumbu finishes his SEC career with five SEC titles and seven All-SEC honors. He has never finished outside of the top two at an SEC meet.
Tarik Batchelor earned a bronze finish in the triple jump and was the top freshman finisher. His best jump of the day measured 51-2.75. Senior Daniel Quinn finished 10th overall with a mark of 47-11 and was the first competitor left out of the finals.
In the short sprints, senior J-Mee Samuels finish fifth in the 100 meters (10.26) and freshman Marek Niit was fifth in the 200 meters (20.91).
Arkansas’ 4×100-meter relay picked up a sixth-place finish and three points. Senior Cedric Zellner, freshman Marek Niit, seniors Mychael Stewart and J-Mee Samuels combined for a clocking of 39.65, the No. 8 mark on Arkansas’ all-time list and an improved regional qualifier.
The Razorbacks ended the evening with a seventh-place finish in the 4×400-meter relay. Freshman Ben Skidmore, sophomore Chris Bilbrew, freshman Marek Niit and senior Mychael Stewart combined for a time 3:10.05, just off the regional qualifier of 3:10.00.
The SEC Outdoor Championships highlight show will air on Fox Sports, Saturday, May 23, 5-7 p.m. CST. For more information and complete results, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com or GatorZone.com.
J-Mee Samuels, 100 meters, 5th, 10.26
Marek Niit, 200 meters, 5th, 20.91
Alex McClary, 800 meters, 1st, 1:47.78
Dorian Ulrey, 800 meters, 3rd, 1:48.46
Andy McClary, 800 meters, 5th, 1:49.19
Chris Bilbrew, 800 meters, 6th, 1:49.30
Dorian Ulrey, 1,500 meters, 1st, 3:41.39
Andy McClary, 1,500 meters, 2nd, 3:41.96
Michael Chinchar, 1,500 meters, 4th, 3:45.68
Scott MacPherson, 3,000-meter steeplechase, 1st, 8:44.08
Rick Elliott, 3,000-meter steeplechase, 6th, 9:08.53
Shawn Forrest, 5,000 meters, 1st, 13:43.51
Scott MacPherson, 5,000 meters, 4th, 14:05.57
Scott MacPherson, 10,000 meters, 3rd, 30:17.48
Lane Boyer, 10,000 meters, 7th, 30:58.09
Rio Reina, 10,000 meters, 8th, 31:04.41
4×100-meter relay, Cedric Zellner, Marek Niit, Mychael Stewart, J-Mee Samuels, 6th, 39.65
4×400-meter relay, Ben Skidmore, Chris Bilbrew, Marek Niit, Mychael Stewart, 7th, 3:10.05
Alain Bailey, high jump, 1st, 7-1.5
Brent Rosson, high jump, 7th, 6-8.75
Alain Bailey, long jump, 1st, 25-8.75
Mychael Stewart, long jump, 4th, 25-1.75
Tarik Batchelor, long jump, 5th, 25-1.25
Nkosinza Balumbu, triple jump, 2nd, 51-7.75
Tarik Batchelor, triple jump, 3rd, 51-2.75