Former Hog still step ahead of rest

By: Bob Holt
Published: Sunday, February 10, 2013
Former Arkansas sprinter Wallace Spearmon acknowledges the crowd before the start of his section of the 200 meters Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, during the Tyson Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Former Arkansas sprinter Wallace Spearmon acknowledges the crowd before the start of his section of the 200 meters Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, during the Tyson Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.

— Wallace Spearmon Jr. considered it a training run, but the former Arkansas NCAA champion sprinter and a two-time U.S. Olympian still put on a show for fans attending Saturday’s Tyson Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center.

Spearmon posted the top time in the 200 meters among 50 entrants, finishing in 20.71 seconds. His time could have been faster but he eased up in the final meters.

It is still the third-fastest 200 in the world this indoor season.

“My training is going well, but I surprised myself today,” Spearmon said. “I didn’t think I was ready to run that fast, but it felt good.”

Spearmon, 28, trains in Arlington, Texas, with Monte Stratton, a former TCU coach. His training partners include Olympians Darvis Patton and Maurice Mitchell.

“My coach told me not to take any unnecessary chances and don’t get hurt,” Spearmon said. “So that’s why I slowed up a little at the end.”

Spearmon, who has a house in Fayetteville, said he came back home this weekend to visit family and friends. Two training partners, Cordero Gray and Isaiah Clemets, came with him and they decided Saturday morning to enter the 200.

“It was still up in the air, but they manned up and said, ‘Let’s just run,’ ” said Spearmon, the American record holder in the 200 indoors at 20.10, which he ran in 2005. “There was a little extra motivation for me because you never want to lose at home, and you never want to lose to anyone in college.”

Spearmon said he will continue training through the indoor season in preparation for competing outdoors. He said he hopes to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and at the 2020 Olympics, when he would be 35.

“God willing, I have at least one [Olympics] left in me and hopefully two,” Spearmon said. “If it’s in the U.S. in 2020, then I’ll definitely try.

“Darvis Patton is 35, and he’s still kicking our butts in practice.”

Sports, Pages 25 on 02/10/2013

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