Boit, Sandfort Take Care Of Business

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Josphat Boit is no Bellamy Road.

And Giacamo was nowhere to be found Friday night.

Less than a week after the huge Kentucky Derby upset, Boit proved to be the closest bet to a sure thing next to the sun rising in the east this morning.

Boit became the 13th Razorback in the last 14 years to win the Southeastern Conference 10,000 meters title on Friday, paving the way for 22 points in the event and a second-place position for Arkansas after the second day at the 2005 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

"It's something we want to keep on going," Boit said of the 10K tradition. "We want to do things like (two-time SEC 10K winner and 2004 Olympian) Alistair (Cragg) and the rest of them did.

"I'm happy for my win."

Boit won in 29 minutes, 39.58 secods at the Vanderbilt Track and Field Complex, followed by senior Jason Sandfort in second (29:44.09) and Marc Rodrigues in fifth (30:25.65).

Combined with Jimmy Duke's four points for fifth in the decathlon, the Razorbacks have 26 points and trail Tennessee's 36 after the Vols got 18 points in the decathlon,17 in the hammer throw and one in the 10K.

Arkansas had to scratch freshman Shawn Forrest from the 10K because of a mouth infection, but he could return for the 5,000 if he responds to antibiotics.

"Having Shawn out of it and we still score 22 points, I'm real happy," said coach John McDonnell.

Arkansas added qualifiers for Sunday's finals with defending champion Tyson Gay and world-leader Wallace Spearmon Jr. in the 200 and James Hatch and Harun Iman in the 800.

Gay (20.3) and Spearmon (20.16) had the top two times and Hatch had the second-best in the 800 at 1:47.98.

The Razorbacks took a major hit when All-American senior and 1,500 favorite Said Ahmed went down in the 800 prelims with a strained hamstring he first hurt last Tuesday.

He's scratched from the rest of the meet and will be questionable to return in time for the Mideast Regional, which could cost him the rest of his final season.

"That's tough on Said," McDonnell said. "He's a senior and he's had a good career."

Arkansas has dominated the 10K at the SEC level since joining the league, but the conference is catching up a little with challengers like Alex Korir of Alabama and Sam Mwape of LSU, who both stayed within striking distance of Sandfort for much of the race.

Sandfort and Boit exchanged the lead for the first 5,000 meters before breaking away from the field, but Korir and Mwape continued to linger.

Rodrigues stayed within himself and took out Augustus Maiyo with a well-timed move midway through the race.

"I told Marc top five and that's just what he did," McDonnell said. "He made his move at the right time. I'm happy for him because he didn't have a good season being anemic indoors. It's always nice to run and place in the top five in the SEC.

"It's the toughest (10K) field in my career in the SEC right there."

Duke took McDonnell's request for four points in the decathlon literally and leaped from seventh to that position by tying for first in his specialty, the pole vault.

He scored a career-best 6,683 points with lifetime bests in the discus (122 feet, 8 inches), javelin (159-6) and the 1,500 (4:55.04). He was a foot under his best in the vault at 15-7 and could have scored even higher.

"I'd be happy if he got two," McDonnell said. "But by gosh, I put four down there and he did it. He's a tough little bugger. I was firing him up a little bit (by asking for fifth place).

"The more you demand of him, the better he's going to be. He's real loose. He doesn't fear anybody."

Hatch was expected to make the finals, as were Gay and Spearmon, but Iman was a pleasant surprise with a three-second personal best of 1:48.19 from his previous of 1:51.87 to take second in his heat behind Peter Etoot of Alabama (1:48.07).

"Great kid," McDonnell said. "You know when Harun goes on the track you are going to get every ounce of energy he has."

Arkansas will try to add points today with finals in the discus, high jump, long jump, pole vault and the steeplechase.

Greg Martin took a surprise third in the SEC outdoor high jump last year and is the first Razorback since Kenny Evans in 2001 to clear seven feet in the event.

Martin is currently second in the rankings with a best of 7-0.5.

Arkansas should score solid points in the pole vault with P.J. Brown and Duke, who are 1 and 3, respectively, in the conference rankings entering today.

The steeplechase should be a big scoring event with top-ranked sophomore Peter Kosgei holding the top seed by nearly 20 seconds over the nearest competitor.

Junior transfer Jose Campos, a national junior college champion in the event in 2003 at Paradise Valley (Ariz.) Junior College, is ranked eighth but should be able to challenge for one of the top two or three places.

Senior Jaanus Uudmae, the SEC indoor triple jump champ, will go in the long jump today as the fifth-ranked entrant with less than eight inches separating the top five athletes.

Junior Tony Ugoh will try to scratch points in the discus after throwing his personal best of 172 feet, 1 inch at the Penn Relays on April 29. Ugoh, the starting left tackle for the football team, is ranked eighth.

In the prelims today, Arkansas will try to advance athletes to Sunday's finals in the 1,500, 100 and 400.

Gay will make his outdoor debut in the 100 as the SEC, Mideast Regional and NCAA defending champion.

Spearmon, Grant and Kiper will run the 100 and senior school indoor 400 record-holder Terry Gatson will test out his sore back in the 400 prelims.

Gatson has been bothered by back spasms since the Mt. SAC Relays and they flared up at Penn in the 4x200-meter relay.

Brauman said Gatson will be evaluated after the prelims to see if he'll continue on Sunday. Gatson is already qualified for the NCAA Mideast Regional.

Brown will run the 400 instead of the 200 to cover for Gatson and give Arkansas a chance to score bigger points with the half-lap race more loaded than last year when the Razorbacks went 1-2-3.

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