Hogs Settle For Fifth

SACRAMENTO, Calif.-- A new men's NCAA Outdoor champion was crowned Saturday afternoon in track neophyte Florida State.The Seminoles, primarily known for football coach Bobby Bowden and his national titles, earned their first-ever track championship, beating powerful LSU 67-51.

"I had someone ask me if this makes us a track school now," said Florida State coach Bob Braman. "I hope so."

Arkansas, the winners of the last three outdoor titles and holders of 42 overall championships, was undermanned with just eight athletes -- four of which scored -- and had to settle for fifth place with 33 points.

"We did what we were supposed to do," McDonnell said. "It was a situation where we didn't have enough people. For whatever reason, we didn't have them."

Arkansas' fifth-place finish did continue its streak of 23 consecutive years of finishing in the top 10 in team points both outdoor and indoor.

Arkansas had battled injuries all season, losing junior distance specialist Peter Kosgei and freshman triple jumper Nkosinza Balumbu.

Balumbu was forced to pull out of Friday's triple jump qualifiers with an injured hamstring.

Florida State, which entered Saturday's final day of competition at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex with a mere seven points, scored 60 points in a matter of two hours to pull away with the title.

Sprinter Walter Dix earned 18 points with a win in the 200 and a second-place finish in the 100 behind the meet's high-point winner Xaiver Carter of LSU.

Carter became the first athlete since Jesse Owens in 1936 to walk away with four national championships in a single meet. With the 100, Carter won the 400 and ran the anchor legs of the Tigers' winning 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

"It's not really going to hit me for another couple of weeks," Carter said. "But your talking about Jesse Owens. He's the one who started track and field. So, I feel honored to be put in the same sentence as him."

Arkansas had solid efforts from 1,500 runner Adam Perkins and javelin thrower Eric Brown on Saturday.

Perkins, who has recently recovered from an injured Achilles, placed sixth in the 1,500 with a time of 3:45.37, nearly four seconds better than the seasonal best he ran Thursday.

"I wanted to win. I wanted to go in and win," Perkins said. "The pace went out a little slower than what I liked to, but given the circumstances I'm an All-American again. I can't complain considering where I was a month ago.

This week's national championships was only Perkins' third track meet back from the injury, a feat many, including McDonnell thought was unlikely.

"I didn't think he would be back at all. He placed (in the same place) in this as the conference meet. He gave it all he had. The race wasn't run to suit him. It didn't suit a lot of guys. That's why you come here and see where the dice fall."

In the javelin, Arkansas' Eric Brown could not muster the efforts he had in previous meets this spring.

Brown, who entered these championships as the nation's top javelin thrower, placed second behind North Carolina's Justin Ryncavage.

Having recorded nearly a dozen throws this year which flew over 240 feet, Brown had to settle for his meet-best toss of 238-3, while Ryncavage let it fly 243-4 on his first attempt of the competition.

"The whole idea is to win at the end," Brown said. "The rest of the meets don't matter. It was good having other good throws out there, but this is the one that mattered."

During Thursday's qualifying round, Brown struggled with his footing, barely making Saturday's finals in 10th place.

But Brown said he had no troubles with his footing, Saturday, except for over-exerting himself on his fifth throw where he fell face first on the runway, nearly fouling.

"I felt much better today. Warm-ups went really well. But I got away from that good feeling you have to have. It's disappointing."

"I felt good today, everything was good, but it didn't go anywhere," Brown said.

Up next for Brown will possibly be the U.S. Outdoor Championships in Indianapolis in two weeks. Last year he finished 12th in that competition.

Brown, who will go down as Arkansas' best javelin thrower in the event's weak history, concludes his career with three consecutive All-America honors and this year's SEC champion, when he had several throws over 250 feet with a wind at his back.

The thought Arkansas had a chance to pull off the upset and win the team title this year was ambitious at the least.

Knowing, his team's chances were slim, McDonnell looked back at the SEC Championships four weeks ago at the rebuilt John McDonnell Field as the pinnacle of the outdoor campaign.

"I hate to say this, and I hate to say we're going to a national championship and not trying to win it, but it was mathematically almost impossible for us to come in and win the championships," McDonnell said. "The one I wanted to win, and I told the athletes this, was the conference meet in our new stadium. They did everything they were supposed to."

"We'll be back. We'll be ready to battle another day."

Yes, it is sure to say Arkansas will be back in the fray for national titles in the near future, but the Razorbacks will be without Josphat Boit, who ended his career Friday night -- diving at the tape to finish second in the 5,000, his final of three long distance races in as many days.

The day before, Boit earned his second career individual national title when he won the 10,000.

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