Razorbacks Know What Time It Is

AUSTIN, Texas -- Harun Iman was denied an NCAA title when the winning distance medley relay team he was a part of was disqualified on a referee's ruling March 11 in Fayetteville.

The Arkansas junior may have to settle for a watch today at the 78th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Mike A. Myers Stadium.

The newly minted No. 1 Razorbacks will try to win the 4x800-meter relay for the fourth straight year and the ninth time overall and the Lady'Backs will send a loaded team to the line in search of their first Texas Relays title in five years.

Texas Relays watches are awarded to winning relay teams and after Arkansas has won 43 since 1977 and 44 overall, the timepieces with the burnt orange Longhorn logo in the middle have become better Christmas presents for the Razorbacks to hand out than everyday wrist wear.

Iman, senior and NCAA indoor 800 runner-up James Hatch, sophomore Brian Roe and either sophomore Adam Perkins or senior Terry Gatson will form Arkansas' team today.

Iman and Roe will be Arkansas' 800 specialists this outdoor season with Hatch possibly moving up to the 1,500 and quick splits - along with a win, naturally -- will by coach John McDonnell's goal for his runners.

Both Roe and Iman, transfers from Central Arizona College and Missouri Southern, respectively, set personal bests in the 800 during indoor seasons.

"Those guys (Roe and Iman) are coming," McDonnell said. "They had a great indoor season."

The women will run at 4 p.m. today with the men to follow.

Gatson, who took a surprise second in the NCAA indoor 400 with the third-fastest collegiate time ever (45.29 seconds), could also be moving up in distance to see his first 800 action as a Razorback this weekend, but he will likely anchor the sprint medley's two-lap capper Friday.

Hatch set a personal best indoors or out with his 1:47.4 to take second in the 800 and McDonnell said it's time for his oft-underachieving senior to raise his game.

"He's a senior and like I said to him, 'If you're planning to have a professional career, this is it,'" McDonnell said. "You're always showcased in college. If you don't do it there, they won't be looking at you. It will be very hard to get in."

Arkansas has never won four Texas Relay titles at one meet while it has won three on seven occasions, including each of the last three seasons.

McDonnell thought Arkansas had a chance to make it four last season, but the Razorbacks came in second in the sprint medley with Hatch on the anchor against eventual Olympic Trials champion Jonathon Johnson of Texas Tech.

McDonnell said he's curious to see what will happen if he puts Gatson on the anchor leg, especially after his clutch performance at the NCAA indoor with the Razorbacks' team chances teetering.

'When you put a winner in a position like that, and a winner with talent, a lot of times great things happen," McDonnell said.

The women will send 2005 NCAA indoor 800 champion Aneita Denton, two-time All-American Erica Sigmont and freshmen All-Americans Paige Ferrell of Springdale and Dacia Barr in the 4x800.

Sigmont, Ferrell and Barr were all members of the Lady'Backs' eighth-place distance medley relay team at the NCAA indoor meet and Denton broke the school record twice en route to winning an improbable NCAA 800 title.

Arkansas' two biggest challenges today will likely come from Texas and Stanford. Texas won it last year and Stanford was sixth, one place behind Arkansas.

"Aneita, Paige, Dacia and Erica make a formidable 4x800," Harter said.

Arkansas will also have Brad Dittoe and David Wittenmeyer in the 400-meter hurdle preliminaries and Abdi Dubed and Matt Gunn will run the 5,000.

Junior Tony Ugoh, the starting left tackle for the football team, will throw the hammer today at 4.

Junior Jimmy Duke will also conclude his decathlon.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories