TYSON INVITATIONAL:

Ex-Hog Spearmon shines again at Tyson

By: ADAM FORD SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE
Published: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Wallace Spearmon comes in to win the Olympic development 200 meters ahead of fellow former Arkansas standouts, from left, Marek Niit, Akheem Gauntlett, and Lashawn Butler during the Tyson Invitational Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Wallace Spearmon comes in to win the Olympic development 200 meters ahead of fellow former Arkansas standouts, from left, Marek Niit, Akheem Gauntlett, and Lashawn Butler during the Tyson Invitational Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.

Wallace Spearmon, who already owns the Tyson Center record in the 200-meter dash, clocked in at 20.51 seconds Saturday afternoon in an Olympic development 200 at the Tyson Invitational. Spearmon’s time is the fastest in the world this year, surpassing his effort of 20.68 in January at the Arkansas Invitational.

Spearmon, a three-time USA Outdoors champion in the event (2006, 2010, 2012) who led the Razorbacks to the 2005 NCAA Indoor national championship, initially planned on running at the Millrose Games this weekend in New York, but weather conditions on the East Coast caused him to postpone those plans and run in Arkansas instead.

The Olympic development 200 ended up being a Razorbacks reunion as three other former Arkansas athletes - Marek Nitt, Akheem Gauntlett and Lashawn Butler - took part in the race and ended up leading the crowd in a Hog call following its completion. Nitt finished second in 20.63, which moved him into second in the world this year.

Current Razorbacks also managed to turn in some impressive efforts as well Saturday.

All-America pole vaulter Andrew Irwin has been battling a minor injury and was questionable for Saturday, but he ended up competing and and won the event with a vault of 18 feet, 4 1/2 inches. It tied the second-best vault of his career.

“Andrew did a great job with very little practice,” Arkansas assistant coach Doug Case said. “He’s a great vaulter and tremendous competitor. Having him back in the mix is another extra boost for our team heading into the championship portion of the season.”

Arkansas’ men’s distance medley relay team, anchored by junior Patrick Rono, also finished first with a time of 9:44.22. It marked the first time the top-ranked Razorbacks have competed in the event this season.

Senior Anthony May finished third in the high jump, and sophomore Jarrion Lawson finished sixth overall in the 200 meter dash.

Junior Tamara Myers, ranked fifth in the nation, posted a personal-best leap of 42-8 to win the triple jump. Kirsten Hesseltine finished fifth in the high jump with a leap of 5-7 3/4.

Sports, Pages 34 on 02/16/2014

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