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John McDonnell’s Roster Ready for 2008 Track and Field

Source: UA Sports Information
Date Published: 1/4/2008 4:47:09 AM
Last Modified: 1/5/2008 4:47:10 AM
PermaLink: http://haw.gs/n18436

The 2008 season has the makings of a banner year for Arkansas track and field. Motivated by an uncharacteristic performance in 2007, head coach John McDonnell’s track Hogs will be looking to add to Arkansas’ collection of NCAA and SEC trophies and titles.

McDonnell, along with assistant coaches Dick Booth and Kyle White, has rounded up high-caliber newcomers to join with experienced veterans to form a group of student-athletes ready to take on the challenge of maintaining Arkansas’ famed perennial-powerhouse image.

“This is a tightly knit group,” McDonnell said. “The leadership wasn’t there last year but we have leaders this year. This is a young group with a lot of experience. Our

upperclassmen will be able to lead our younger guys. I’ve always said if you don’t have leadership, you won’t have a winning team. We have it this year.”

During his 36th season at the helm of the Razorback program, McDonnell and his staff have their sights set on Arkansas’ 21st SEC triple crown (winning SEC titles in cross country, indoor and outdoor) and the possibility of winning two more NCAA Championships.

McDonnell’s distance squad welcomes back All-American Scott MacPherson and national qualifiers James Strang, Colin Costello and Shawn Forrest. Forrest is returning to competition after redshirting the 2007 season while recovering from a stress fracture in his foot.

New to the distance group will be Lane Boyer, Michael Chinchar, Alex McClary, Andy McClary, Alex Neff and Duncan Phillips.

“We have some great freshmen coming in, Duncan Phillips, Michael Chinchar, Lane Boyer and Alex Neff,” McDonnell said. “They have lots of great experience running in some difficult meets and races. Duncan was coached by a former Razorback in high school so he is used to our type of training.”

Veterans Tyler Hill, Chris Barnicle and Daniel LaCava will also be returning with another year of experience under their belts. Hill earned huge points for the Razorbacks on the conference level in 2007.

“Daniel LaCava, Tyler Hill, Chris Barnicle, they are also in the mix,” McDonnell said. “They have done some great things in the past and I expect more good things out of them this season.”

Alex and Andy McClary, transfers from Cal, redshirted the 2007 season. Alex specializes in the 800 meters and Andy typically competes in the 1,500 meters but both have run distances from legs of the 4x400-meter relays to 5,000 meters. Andy finished fifth in the 1,500 meters at the 2007 USA Championships and earned a spot on Team USA at the Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Freshman Chris Bilbrew will also add some depth in the middle distance group. Bilbrew has competed at distances from 400 meters to a mile while competing for Smiths Station High School. Bilbrew will concentrate on the 800 meters and aiding on the 4x400-meter relay while competing for the Hogs.

“Chris wants to run in a lot of races and he’s a guy we are going to have to pull the ropes on,” assistant coach White said. “He knows what he is in store for. He encourages that. He’s going to be able to help across the board, in two or three events.”

In the field events, assistant coach Booth welcomes back All-Americans Alain Bailey, Nkosinza Balumbu and Bentonville native Mychael Stewart. Balumbu finished third in the triple jump during the indoor season and was sixth at the outdoor championships.

“I think Nkosinza would think last year was a disappointment for him,” Booth said. “He had a plantar fasciiitis problem with his foot that probably bothered him more than he let on. I have really high expectations for Nkosinza. He’s a leader on the team and I really feel like he’s going to have just a great year.”

Bailey’s stellar freshman campaign ended abruptly in 2007 after tearing his meniscus and spraining his MCL<

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Arkansas Self-Reports NCAA Violations Involving Former Asst Track and Field Coach (1/27)

Arkansas Track Ranks No. 2 in the Trackwire 25 (1/16)

Razorbacks Collect Five NCAA Marks to Open the 2007 Season (1/12)

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