Brown Runs Winning Streak To Four

PHILADELPHIA -- Arkansas junior Eric Brown ran his undefeated streak to four Saturday at the 111th Penn Relays.

Brown has been the top collegiate finisher at every meet he's thrown the javelin at this year with wins at the Texas Relays, Mt. SAC, the McDonnell Invitational and now prestigious Penn.

Professionals have bested Brown at Texas and Mt. SAC, but no collegiate has knocked him off yet and he may not be challenged until he sees national leader and last year's runner-up Gabriel Wallin of Boise State.

Brown, who took an All-American third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last June in Austin, Texas, after entering the meet seeded 11th, is currently ranked second nationally by less than an inch with his school record of 248 feet, 5 inches.

Brown posted that mark at the McDonnell Invitational on April 23, more than two feet farther than the 246-3 he tossed last year to break the old school record of 241-11 previously held by Ed Kaminski since 1990.

His winning throw Saturday was just 233-5, but it came in lousy conditions with a stiff breeze and rain.

In spite of the conditions, Brown kept his undefeated streak going heading into the Southeastern Conference Championships in two weeks where he'll be the heavy favorite.

"I'm very excited," Brown said. "It is important to have that momentum. The distance wasn't that great, but it was a tough day and I did get one good throw. The win is what's important."

Brown has seen just about every kind of weather from hot at Texas to nearly perfect at Mt. SAC and the McDonnell.

Postseason meets can take place under any conditions, so Brown feels he's ready to excel no matter what the weather.

"I've had pretty much something of everything. You had to be tough today," he said. "It was between a crosswind and a headwind. It was blowing it everywhere. It was about as bad as you can get.

"Everybody was upset about it, but everyone had to deal with the same thing."

Brown did a better job than anybody at it on Saturday.



RECENT RIVALRY ONE-SIDED

Michigan won three Penn Relays titles for the first time in its history Saturday with Arkansas the runner-up each time in the distance medley, 4x mile and 4x800-meter relays.

The Wolverines came into the meet with the plan to break Arkansas' six-year-old record in the 4x mile relay and ambitions of breaking 16 minutes.

Michigan had to settle for beating two Arkansas teams instead.

The Wolverines beat Arkansas on the track and the history books to take control of a middle distance rivalry that became one-sided this weekend.

"There's a lot of mutual respect there but at the same time it's a lot of satisfaction to not only beat them, but beat them convincingly," said Michigan's 4x mile third leg and distance medley anchor Nick Willis. "We really put on a Michigan show this weekend, which is really fun.

"I won't deny that. But at the same time, we're all friends and we look forward to seeing them as individuals in the future."

Arkansas was disqualified at the NCAA Indoor Championships after beating Michigan when Said Ahmed was ruled to have impeded Nate Brannen, who said Saturday he's tired of hearing that brought up.

"We're all good friends and the DMR disqualification really affected me," Brannen said. "I wouldn't wish that on anyone. The way it's been talked about, I just want to move on. It's played out. It was the same (Friday)."

Michigan coach Ron Warhurst, who dissed the university's hometown newspaper that didn't send a reporter or run a story on the Wolverines' DMR win by calling it the "Ann Arbor Snooze", said it was good for the sport to have other teams dominate from time to time.

"It's great for track and field," Warhurst said. ‘When the same team wins all the time it gets kind of ho-hum, here we go again. It's a nice little rivalry developing. For us, it's a great switch."



MCDONNELL THE GHOST

This conversation was overheard Friday by two gentlemen who noticed John McDonnell nearby.

"That's John McDonnell over there," said one. "People talk about him like he doesn't even exist, like he's some kind of ghost."

"What's he got, like 2,900 national championships?" said the other. (It's 40, by the way)

"Yeah," said his friend. "John Wooden (who won 10 NCAA basketball titles at UCLA), that's nothing."

"You know all those kids aren't going there because they like Fayetteville," said the other.


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