Lightning Halts Late-Running Regional

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The weather finally halted what Mideast Regional host school Indiana had been slowing down all night.

The meet was stopped because of lightning at 8:50 p.m., more than an hour behind schedule and Arkansas coach John McDonnell was not happy when he heard the decision to run the men's 200-meter prelims today at 11:45 a.m.

"That's bull----," McDonnell spat. "That's too many races."

At press time, there was an appeal being made by coaches to the NCAA Track and Field Committee to overturn the decision to run 200 prelims on top of the 200 finals, 100 finals, 4x100-meter relay and 4x400-meter relay.

Arkansas sophomore and world 200 leader Wallace Spearmon Jr. was slated to run the 4x100 and the 4x400 today. Teammate Tyson Gay is already advanced to the 100 finals but was also slated to run the 200 and 4x100.

That would make five races for Gay and four for Spearmon, not to mention others doubling like Steve Mullings of Mississippi State, if the initial decision holds.

The women's and men's 5,000 meters were set to run today at 11 and 11:20 a.m. Arkansas has Josphat Boit and Seth Summerside in the 5,000 while the Lady'Backs have Laura Jakosky, Penny Splichal and Jessie Gordon in the women's 5K.

McDonnell wanted to reseed the 200 heats based on time and run the event as a final, making every athlete run the same number of races originally planned.

The meet was scheduled to end at 8:20 p.m. with the men's 5,000 meters, but the meet was only at the women's 200, previously scheduled to end at 7:45.

After the announcement about the intention to run the 200 prelims and the ensuing fury by the coaches, Lady'Backs coach Lance Harter said there was a "mini-riot" going on.

"I am just flabbergasted that Indiana, which has hosted the (1997) NCAA Championships, could do such a poor job of following a timetable," Harter said. "To be so far off and to have weather catch up to us. If the meet had been on schedule, it wouldn't be a factor."

McDonnell was flabbergasted by the way the meet was run Friday. The regional started losing time during the heats of the short hurdles and really came undone during the women's 100.

"It's amazing," McDonnell said. "They were taking eight minutes between heats of the women's 100. It was just ridiculous.

"It's tough on the athletes. That's how athletes get hurt. Warming up and cool down and warm up again. Not very well done, to say the least."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories