Spearmon, Gay Put Stamp On Arkansas' 41st NCAA Win

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Arkansas' school record in the 4x100-meter relay lasted less than two weeks.

The world's best time in the 200 meters stood for fewer than 48 hours.

John McDonnell's 41 NCAA titles will live forever.

Stamped by sophomore Wallace Spearmon's second straight NCAA outdoor 200 meters title in a world-leading 19.91 seconds, Arkansas won its third consecutive outdoor championship in monumental style Saturday night in Hornet Stadium before 10,200.

The Razorbacks won with 60 points to runner-up Florida's 49.

Arkansas senior Tyson Gay took the school record and the world lead from Spearmon's previous best of 19.97 with a blazing 19.93 on Thursday, a day before Gay, Spearmon, Omar Brown and Michael Grant broke their own Razorback best with their 38.49-second win in the 4x100-meter relay.

Saturday, Gay took third in 20.16 to LSU freshman Xavier Carter (20.08), but he wasn't shedding any tears about it.

"Coach said he didn't care who won it as long as we got enough points to win the team title," Gay said. "It doesn't matter. We got it done."

The Hogs' dominance in the 200 ensured Arkansas didn't need Jaanus Uudmae's four points for fifth in the triple jump and the Razorbacks weren't affected by Josphat Boit dropping out of the 5,000 meters.

Two days after losing his school record, Spearmon took it back with the third-fastest time in NCAA meet history and the seventh-fastest collegiate clocking of all time.

"You couldn't ask for a better ending," Spearmon said. "It's like a Disney movie."

Gay, who gave Spearmon a bear hug after the race, wasn't bothered by coming in behind his younger teammate.

"I wasn't surprised at all," Gay said. "I knew Wallace was going to run great. I had the record, he took it back and that's what competitiveness is all about."

Spearmon, who announced after his third NCAA title he was turning professional with the blessing of his parents, McDonnell and sprints coach Lance Brauman, battled a sore knee for the last month but found a way to knock off Carter.

"You never expect anything like that," Brauman said of Spearmon's second sub-20 time in the 200 at age 20. "They (Gay and Spearmon) went after it. Tyson ran a great turn, but Wallace was right there and he motored home. He's been banged up and he decided to put one together in the finals at the NCAAs.

"That's just awesome. Totally awesome."

A beaming McDonnell certainly thought so after winning his first NCAA championship without winning a distance or jumps title.

Arkansas' two event championships this weekend came from his burgeoning sprint unit that has captured three of the last four 100 or 200 outdoor titles.

"Oh, gosh," McDonnell said. "That was terrific. Those two guys I'll remember for a long time.

"Such great guys."

Just as they did on Friday before winning the 4x100-meter relay, the Razorbacks allowed Florida to sniff the lead on the final day of the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Then Arkansas jerked the rug out from under the Gators.

Florida sophomore Kerron Clement won his second straight title in the 400-meter hurdles to give Florida a 42-39 lead against top-ranked and defending champion Arkansas, but the 17 points from the 200 put the title out of reach.

"It was a battle all year long," McDonnell said of the Razorbacks' battle with Florida. "(Florida coach) Mike Holloway did a great job at Florida. They gave us all we wanted. They had a great meet and Mike is a personal friend of mine.

"I wish he'd ease up a little bit."

There's no doubt Holloway feels the same about McDonnell and the ever-dominant Hogs.

Following Terry Gatson's seventh-place finish in the 400 meters, Arkansas started its march toward the title in the 1,500 meters.

After holding a solid second place throughout the first three laps, sophomore Adam Perkins was eaten up on the bell lap and was struggling in seventh place with less than 150 meters to go.

Team title rival Florida's Shane Stroup was all the inspiration Perkins needed and he managed to follow Stroup around several runners before he nipped the Gator by three hundredths of a second at the line to take fourth for five points in a personal best of 3:38.54.

"Adam Perkins ran a great race," McDonnell said. "He improved six seconds since he's been here. He hung on in the true Razorback tradition. He went right after him. The same thing happened in the 4x100 when we beat Florida. All those things add up."

Perkins also passed up Florida State's Tom Lancashire, who finished eighth.

"I went out hard and I felt it," Perkins said. "I saw the guy from Florida and Florida State and knew I had to finish ahead of them, so I gave it one last lean at the end."

Perkins' finish was a two-point swing in Arkansas' favor and gave the Hogs a 39-32 lead after Gator sophomore Mike Morrison took fourth in the high jump.

After just missing the Arkansas top 10 list by two hundredths of a second with his PR of 3:39.82 on Thursday, Perkins cracked the list and now stands as the ninth-best in Razorback history.

"The first (PR) was a bit of a shock and the second one hurt a little more," he said. "Now I'm looking forward to the USA Championships and getting ready for that."

After running the second-fastest qualifying time in the 400 semifinals, Arkansas senior Terry Gatson was unable to duplicate his indoor runner-up and school-record finish.

Lined up one lane inside 2004 Olympic 4x400 gold medalist Darold Williamson of Baylor, who he defeated at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, Gatson went out too fast and faded down the homestretch, usually his strongest part of the race.

Gatson's time was 45.68 while Williamson avenged his indoor loss with the title in 44.51. Gatson's two points for seventh place moved Arkansas to 34, 11 ahead of Florida.

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