DES MOINES, Iowa – The No. 14 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team will travel to Des Moines, Iowa, this week to take part in the 103rd running of the Drake Relays. The prestigious event begins Thursday and runs through Saturday evening at Drake Stadium, site of the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Including the Razorbacks, the field of competition is set to feature seven ranked teams.
"First and foremost, we’re always looking to compete at the highest level," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "After (last) weekend where we split up to hit some individual events, we’re back together as a team for the Drake Relays. We’re looking forward to the fun, carnival-like atmosphere you get with these relay events."
In addition to its individual entries, Arkansas is scheduled to compete in eight relays-4×100, 4×200, 4×400, 4×800, 4×1,600, shuttle hurdle, sprint medley and distance medley. Other ranked teams scheduled to compete at the Drake Relays are No. 2 Florida, No. 11 Ole Miss, No. 12 Oklahoma, No. 16 Nebraska, No. 19 Georgia and No. 20 Iowa.
The Razorbacks’ lone race Thursday is the 5,000 meters with Lane Boyer, Cameron Efurd, Eric Fernandez and Solomon Haile. Preliminary heats of individual events and select relays begin Friday. Day three’s schedule for Arkansas also includes field action in the javelin, pole vault, long jump and high jump. With the exception of a preliminary round of the shuttle-hurdle relay, all of Saturday’s events will be run as finals.
The team leads the SEC in four events and has three top-10 marks on the national performance list. Arkansas owns the top spot among conference competitors in the 1,500 meters with Duncan Phillips, 10,000 meters with Boyer, pole vault with Andrew Irwin and decathlon with Gunnar Nixon. Nationally, Irwin has the No. 1 mark in the pole vault (5.60m/18-4.5), Akheem Gauntlett is sixth in the 400 meters (45.65) and Nixon is No. 9 in the decathlon (7,660 points).
Arkansas enters the Drake Relays as the No. 14 team in the nation with the release of the April 24 USTFCCCA poll. Six of the SEC’s nation-leading seven teams are ranked in the top 15. The Razorbacks are joined in this week’s rankings by Florida, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn and Georgia.
Meet coverage during the weekend is set to include live results and an interactive blog, which begins Friday at noon (CT). A video stream will be available for Drake Relays via subscription through the Bulldogs’ website. For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: Notes 13_Drake Relays_men.pdf