DES MOINES, Iowa
– The No. 12 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team closed out the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships on Saturday with an eighth-place finish with 26 points. On the final day of competition, the Razorbacks picked up sixth-place finishes from their 4x100 and 4x400 relays and a seventh-place showing from Duncan Phillips
at 1,500 meters.
Arkansas’ eighth-place finish is the team’s highest under head coach Chris Bucknam
. Last season, the Razorbacks finished tied for 10th in the nation and were ninth during the 2009 season.
In the first event of the day, Arkansas’ 4x100-meter relay team of Caleb Cross
, Akheem Gauntlett
, Neil Braddy
and Marek Niit
combined for sixth-place finish in a time of 39.73, worth three points to the team’s total. The performance marked the Razorbacks’ first national score in the event since the 1994 season when the quartet of Jimmy French, Vincent Henderson, Chris Phillips and Derrick Thompson posted a fifth-place finish.Phllips
added a seventh-place finish in the event final of the 1,500 meters. With a final sprint down the final 100 meters, the Razorback junior posted a time of 3:44.77. The race was Phillips’ first career event final at the NCAA Championships. Places four through seven were separated by just .30 seconds. The time for Phillips was the fifth fastest of his career.
“It’s a bit of a bittersweet feeling,” Phillips said. “There were about eight guys that had a realistic chance to win and I thought I was one of them. So you can’t be too upset coming out top eight. I wasn’t even ranked within the top 25 coming in to the (NCAA West Preliminary), so I moved up a lot. But given the situation, there’s some give-and-take. You give away a little bit of a better finish but I get to take away a top-eight, All-American finish.”
The Razorbacks closed the meet with a sixth-place finish in the 4x400-meter relay. Arkansas’ quartet of Braddy, Gauntlett, Niit and Ben Skidmore
posted a time of 3:03.90 to secure the team’s final three points. For the first time in program history, coupled with the team’s fifth-place finish last year, Arkansas’ 4x400-meter relay put together back-to-back seasons with a top-eight result.
For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.Saturday Results1,500 Meters (final)
7. Duncan Phillips
– 3:44.77 [2 points]4x100m Relay (final)
6. Cross/Gauntlett/Braddy/Niit – 39.73 [3 points]4x400m Relay (final)
6. Niit/Braddy/Skidmore/Gauntlett – 3:03.90 [3 points]