McDonnell Mad About Ending

AUSTIN, Texas -- There's no doubt other wins have made Arkansas coach John McDonnell happier.

The Razorbacks won their sixth 4x1,500-meter relay in a row and their 19th overall in the history of the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, but McDonnell wasn't turning cartwheels Friday night.

"We couldn't miss on that one," McDonnell said moments after Arkansas won in 15:24.42 to Texas' 15:26.37 in less than impressive fashion.

Arkansas owns the collegiate record in the event at 14:50.2 set in 1985.

McDonnell was still fuming about the sprint medley relay, which had ended an hour earlier with Arkansas in an unaccustomed dead last place.

"It turned into a nightmare," said McDonnell of the sprint medley.

McDonnell was also unhappy with senior 4x1,500-meter anchor leg Said Ahmed, who twirled his baton at the Texas anchor in a taunting gesture down the stretch.

"You can get disqualified for that," McDonnell said. "You sure don't do that in Austin, Texas.

"You don't do that anywhere."

The sprint medley was a disaster after Omar Brown gave 800-meter anchor leg James Hatch the baton in a pack of three runners, including Texas Tech's Jonathon Johnson, the U.S. Olympic Trials champion in the 800.

Johnson broke out with a sub-49 second split on his opening 400 and cruised to the Red Raiders' fourth straight win in the event with a 1:46.4 clocking for his leg.

Hatch appeared to lock up with just more than a lap to go and faded all the way back to last place in his heat and overall, nearly walking across the line to give Arkansas a time of 3:27.05.

Brown took the baton in first place thanks to a dynamite second leg from American indoor 200 record-holder and two-time NCAA champion Wallace Spearmon Jr.

Spearmon took the handoff from freshman Michael Grant after a shaky handoff and his long, quick strides ate up everyone down the homestretch.

Brown held off Auburn and Texas Tech as long as he could, maintaining the lead until just before his handoff to Hatch.

"The first three legs ran great," McDonnell said. "It was a shame they had to run that hard. We're trying to get people races. If we really wanted to, we'd put (NCAA champion) Tyson Gay in the 200 and (NCAA runner-up) Terry Gatson on the 400. We don't want to take a chance this early in the season and we definitely don't want to get anyone hurt."

It was the second straight poor anchor for Hatch, who ran a split in excess of 1:55 against the wind in the 4x800-meter relay on Thursday.

Hatch ran a 1:47.4 in the NCAA indoor 800 last month, defeating Johnson in the process.

"James Hatch -- there has to be something wrong with him," McDonnell said. "He ran two minutes (split). That's not James Hatch. He missed his last blood test 10 days ago."

McDonnell would rather something be amiss with Hatch than believe that was his 800-meter NCAA runner-up running a 70-second split for his final lap.

"I hope there's something wrong with him." McDonnell said.

Grant, who had 29 tackles at cornerback last fall, ran a 10.67 in his first 100 meters as a Razorback and did not advance to the finals.

Grant was second in his heat and was 17th out of 58 entries.

Freshman Chessly Johnson was second in the 'B' section of the triple jump Friday with a leap of 50 feet, 8.5 inches in his outdoor debut.

Johnson, a two-time triple jump Texas champion at Frisco High in Plano, also qualified for the NCAA Mideast Regional meet with his distance.

Junior Tony Ugoh, a junior starting left tackle for the football team, was 12th in the discus. He recorded one legal throw of 162 feet, 6 inches, more than four feet shorter than the regional standard.

Jaanus Uudmae scratched out of the long jump but the two-time All-American will triple jump today at 1 p.m.

Junior transfer Jose Campos, the 2003 national junior college steeplechase champion, was seventh (9:06.72) in his specialty Friday night with a Mideast Regional qualifier.

Arkansas will go for its fifth straight distance medley relay title and 13th overall today at 1:05 p.m.

Adam Perkins will lead off on the 1,200 leg, Gatson will run the 400, Harun Iman will run the 800 and Ahmed will anchor on the 1,600 leg.

"We want to win one more," McDonnell said.

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