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Posted: March 14, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Athletics: Arkansas DMR Silver, Forrest Bronze on Day One at NCAAs - Bargiachi, White Earn All-America Honors

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Arkansas Razorback men’s track and field picked up a silver and a bronze finish in event finals on day one of the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas.

The Razorbacks sit tied for fourth place with 14 points in the team standings after day one of competition. Saturday’s events include finals in the mile, 3,000 meters and the triple jump for the Arkansas men.

“The DMR did everything they could,” head coach Chris Bucknam said. “Oregon has a great lineup and I tip my hat to them. Our guys ran a very courageous race. We had the lead going into the mile and it was the opposite position we had when we raced them in January. Dorian (Ulrey) had the lead almost up until the last lap. Galen (Rupp) was in a good position to pass people and sprint and he took advantage of that.”

“Shawn (Forrest) ran another tough race for us tonight,” Bucknam said. “He’s definitely a guy we rely on. Every race he has competed in this season has been strong. We got a solid start with getting two guys in the mile finals. Dorian has been there before but to get a young guy like Duncan (Phillips), just a sophomore, that’s a milestone for him and his career. We stumbled a bit in the sprints and the long jump and we’ll feel that tomorrow when we are adding up points.”

Senior Shawn Forrest finished third in the exciting 5,000 meters. He clocked a time of 13:44.78 to earn the second All-America honor of his career and the first indoors. In the lead pack for the entire race, Forrest flirted with second place and challenged the runner in front of him with 200 meters to go. Sam Chelanga of Liberty surged down the final stretch to pick up second with his time of 13:44.57. Oregon’s Olympian and American record holder Galen Rupp won his first race of the day with a time of 13:41.45.

“I tried to settle in to second at the end and battle a bit with Sam Chelanga,” Forrest said. “I always like to stay in the top five and go with the lead pack. Usually I like to take the lead but that’s not always the smartest race plan at the NCAA Championships. My kick has come a long way this season and I have a lot of confidence in it. To finish in the top three at the NCAA Championships, I’m very pleased.”

Arkansas put its “A” team distance medley relay on the track for what was promised to be a highly contested race. Battling Oregon and its two Olympians on the final two legs, Arkansas picked up a second-place finish in Friday’s final event.

Sophomore Duncan Phillips, running in his second race of the day, led off with a 2:55.57 1,200-meter leg. He handed to freshman Ben Skidmore who clocked a 400-meter split of 47.46. Senior Alex McClary was next with a 1:49.24 800 meters and managed to hold off 800-meter Olympian and Oregon Duck Andrew Wheating. Junior Dorian Ulrey anchored with a 3:58.05 mile split to cross the finish line in a combined time of 9:30.31.

All four members of the Razorback DMR earned their first All-America honor in an Arkansas uniform Friday night. Oregon won the race with a time of 9:29.59 and got a 3:57.08 mile anchor leg from its distance standout.

Both Ulrey and Phillips were able to secure a birth in Saturday’s final. Ulrey competed in the first of two sections, running a second-place time of 4:04.61 to automatically advance to the final. In heat two, Phillips took sixth place with a time of 4:02.82, and was able to grab one of the four at-large spots in Saturday’s race.

In other prelims on Friday, senior J-Mee Samuels finished 10th in the 60 meters (6.72), freshman Marek Niit was 11trh in the 200 meters (21.12) and sophomore Chris Bilbrew was 13th in the 800 meters (1:50.42). In the long jump, freshman Tarik Batchelor finished 10th with a jump of 24-9 and junior Alain Bailey was 14th with a leap of 24-2.5.

Bargiachi, White Earn All-America Honors

Clocking some of the fastest times in school history, senior Denise Bargiachi and sophomore Catherine White picked up All-America honors for Arkansas Razorback women’s track and field on day one of the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas.

“We are elated with this 5,000 meters,” head coach Lance Harter said. “We had two PRs and got two All-America honors. Both have raced 18,000 meters in the last 13 days so this is pretty impressive for Denise (Bargiachi) and Catherine (White) to come out and race with such intensity. It speaks volumes about their training and fitness levels. They are special runners and keen competitors. And Denise scored points for us to put us on the board. We have an important day tomorrow with the vaulters and the mile relay.”

Bargiachi was Arkansas’ top runner in the 5,000-meter final with a sixth-place finish. She clocked a personal best time of 16:01.30, the fourth-fastest time in Arkansas school history. She earned the second All-America honor of her career and improved on her 10th-place finish from the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships.

“Coach told me to stay on the inside as much as I could and it worked out well,” Bargiachi said. “I’ve always wanted to score points at the NCAA Championships and I’m just so excited. It’s definitely a plus to race and train on a 200-meter banked track all season as opposed to running on a big track. It also helps to have a great teammate like Catherine (White) there with me. We stay focused together all weekend and we can warm up and race together. I couldn’t ask for anything more right now.”

Bargiachi has shaved nearly 20 seconds off her career best in the event this season with her clocking of 16:21 at Washington in January, 16:15 at the last chance event last weekend and 16:01 Friday night.

White finished 11th in the packed 5,000-meter field. She too clocked a personal best with a time of 16:06.01 and was just off Arkansas’ all-time top-five list. White picked up her first All-America honor as she was the eighth American to cross the finish line.

Sophomore Shelise Williams began Arkansas’ day with a fourth-place finish in her section of the 200-meter dash, running 54.05. Her time was good enough for 12th overall. In the long jump senior Peter-Gaye Beckford finished 15th with a jump of 19-3.5. Both missed qualifying for the final in their respective events.

The Razorbacks sit tied for 31st place with three points in the team standings after day one of competition. Saturday’s events include the pole vault and the 4x400-meter relay for the Arkansas women.

For complete results of the NCAA Indoor Championships, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com or AggieAthletics.com.


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