Summerside Hustles Way Into NCAA Field

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Seth Summerside's extra effort in the Mideast Regional 5,000 meters didn't earn him an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. But it should get him there anyway.

Summerside put the hammer down chasing Wisconsin's Chris Solinsky for the final automatic spot in the NCAA 5K field before he ran out of track and took sixth.

Under the NCAA's new qualifying system, the 6-8 finishers go into a pool with seven to eight additional athletes selected from a list of their season-best times.

Summerside's late kick resulted in a five-second personal best of 14:00.83, which places him sixth on the wild card list.

Unless the NCAA takes only 25 athletes in the 5,000, a highly unlikely scenario considering it must fill two preliminary heats and took 28 last year, Summerside, the walk-on sophomore from Joplin, Mo., is going to the national championships.

While coach John McDonnell said it's 100 percent Summerside will get in, he was holding his hopes back.

The field should be announced early this week.

"Up to this point, it's still 50-50," Summerside said. "I feel comfortable I have a chance. I gave 100 percent, so I have no regrets whatsoever."

Summerside first showed out at the Southeastern Conference Championships two weeks ago with a surprise seventh in the 1,500 and an even more shocking upset of five-time All-American teammate Jason Sandfort in the 5K finals.

Summerside can't put his finger on why he's improving so much right now, but the improvement itself -- and the chance of being on a NCAA champion team -- is why he came to Arkansas.

"It's just coming together for me," he said. "Hopefully I can get to the national meet and help the University of Arkansas get a win."

Mullings Banned In Jamaica

Mississippi State junior Steve Mullings, who beat Arkansas' defending SEC, Mideast and NCAA 100 champion Tyson Gay two weeks ago in Nashville for the SEC title, was banned Friday by his native Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association for a positive drug test last June.

Mullings, who the Mississippi State media guide touts as the "current Jamaican 200 champion," was left off the Jamaican Olympic team after he won the 200 at the island's national championships.

Mullings tested positive for testosterone days after his win and on Friday the Associated Press reported the JAAA has banned him for two years effective June 24, 2004.

The JAAA said it would forward the results on to the International Association of Athletic Federations.

Mullings currently leads the NCAA in the 100 with a season-best of 10.06.

Arkansas was recruiting Mullings, who ran at Razorback sprint coach Lance Brauman's former school, Barton (Kan.) County, until the staff heard of his positive test and backed off.

Until recently, the NCAA did not respect the bans of other athletic federations because of differences on the banned substances list, but recent legislation effective this August would change that.

Family Rivalry

Wallace Spearmon Jr. will never forget all the beatings he took from his father racing down Holly Street in Fayetteville.

Spearmon Sr. would challenge his son to a race down the block with the father, an All-American sprinter at Arkansas, on foot and the son on a bike.

Father won time after time.

Now every time the son breaks a record held by his father, Junior lets him know all about it.

Spearmon Sr. is ready to hear quite a bit after his son, Tyson Gay, Omar Brown and Michael Grant broke the 20-year-old school record in the 4x100-meter relay to give the Razorbacks their second straight Mideast Regional title in the event in 38.73 seconds.

"It's just another thing he can rub in my face," chuckled Spearmon Sr., who was a member of the previous record team of Roddie Haley, Fred Cleary and Mike Conley who ran 38.81 in 1985. "He told me they would get it, so congratulations to them. I tell him we didn't have tracks like they have now or the shoes and the technology and he just says, ‘Naw, we're just better.'

"And I have to say, ‘Yeah.'"

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