DES MOINES, Iowa – The No. 7 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team collected its third finals qualifier Friday on day three of the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. The Razorbacks’ 4×400-meter relay team secured a spot in the finals with a second-place run in heat two of the semifinal round. Kevin Lazas concluded the decathlon Friday morning with a school-record 7,802 points, good for 10th in the 10-event competition.
The Razorbacks picked up a third finals qualifier with their 4×400-meter relay. The team of Ben Skidmore (46.25), Marek Niit (45.49), Travis Southard (46.38) and Neil Braddy (45.50) combined for a season-best time of 3:04.05, clinching an automatic berth into Saturday’s final with a second-place finish in heat two. Arkansas was the fourth overall qualifier in the semifinal round.
With its time Friday, the foursome becomes the fourth-fastest mile relay team in program history. The Razorbacks will be running for their first All-America status in the outdoor 4×400 relay since the 2000 season.
Throughout the decathlon competition, Lazas posted five personal bests with his performances in the long jump, 400 meters, 110-meter hurdles, javelin and 1,500 meters. His point total will also extend his own school record and the American junior record which he originally set in May at the SEC Championships.
"I had a lot of fun," Lazas said. "I scored over 7,800 points and finished in 10th place. I think that would have placed fourth last year, but there’s just a lot of great competition out there. I’ve competed with a lot of them for about six years now and I also trained with Michael Ayers (of Georgia) back in high school. Overall, it was a successful meet for me because I was pretty consistent all the way through."
After heavy storms postponed the conclusion of the decathlon Thursday night, the competitors returned for a third day to complete the 10-event competition. In the first event of the day for Lazas, he unleashed a personal-best mark of 58.78m (192-10) in the javelin, good for 720 points. The Razorback freshman closed out the decathlon with another personal best, a 4:36.34 effort in the 1,500 meters which added a final 704 points to his overall total.
In the high jump, Brede Raa Ellingsen finished in the 10th place with a day’s best clearance of 2.14m (7-0.25). He finishes the year with a season-best jump of 2.16m (7-1) back in April at Penn Relays. Ellingsen was one of four Razorbacks to participate in the high jump at the NCAA West Preliminary Round.
With the completion of the 4×400 heats Friday, the Razorbacks will have three entries during the final day of competition at the NCAA Championships. Arkansas will be represented by Marek Niit and LaShawn Butler in the 200 meters, Dorian Ulrey in the 1,500 meters and its mile relay. Day four of the national meet will be televised by CBS, beginning at noon (CT) and streamed lived at NCAA.com. Log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com for more information and continued meet coverage, including live results and interactive blog.
NCAA Championships – Day 3 Results
4x400M Relay4. Skidmore/Niit/Southard/Braddy – 3:04.05 (Q)
Decathlon10. Kevin Lazas – 7,802 points 11. 100m, 10.96, 870 points 4. Long Jump, 24-3, 908 points (PR) 11. Shot Put, 43-1.75, 676 points 13. High Jump, 6-5, 767 points 22. 400m, 50.58, 788 points (PR) 17. 110mH – 15.29, 815 points (PR) 12. Discus – 40.46m, 674 points 3. Pole Vault – 4.90, 880 points 5. Javelin – 58.78m, 720 points (PR) 14. 1,500m – 4:36.34, 704 points (PR)
High Jump10. Brede Raa Ellingsen – 2.14m