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NCAA champions headline All-America honors

BY ANDRES FOCIL
NCAA champions headline All-America honors

FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 2 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team collected 16 All-America honors Monday with the release of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-America list for the 2012 indoor season. The Razorbacks earned a nation-leading 14 first-team selections headlined by NCAA champions Andrew Irwin in the pole vault and the 4×400-meter relay team of Neil Braddy, Akheem Gauntlett, Marek Niit and Ben Skidmore.

With his victory at the national meet, Irwin became Arkansas’ first-ever NCAA indoor pole vault champion. He set the school record for the third time with his winning clearance of 5.55m/18-2.5. The Razorbacks’ 4×400-meter relay also made history by winning the program’s first NCAA title in the event.

Three Razorbacks earned two All-America honors with Braddy, Gauntlett and Niit who were also recognized for their work in their respective event. In addition to relay duties, Gauntlett was a first-team selection at 200 meters while Niit (first team) and Braddy (second team) were named honorees for the 400 meters.

Arkansas’ remaining first-team All-America performers are Caleb Cross (60-meter hurdles), Kevin Lazas (heptathlon), Anthony Lieghio (distance-medley relay), Leoman Momoh (distance-medley relay), Gunnar Nixon (heptathlon), Patrick Rono (distance-medley relay) and Travis Southard (distance-medley relay). Braddy was joined on the second-team list by Noah Kittelson (high jump).

Niit now has seven All-America honors during his Razorback career while Braddy and Skidmore each have six. Cross, Lazas and Southard have collected three All-America honors in their respective careers and Gauntlett earned his first two accolades. Monday’s All-America release marks the first career recognition for Irwin, Kittelson, Lieghio, Momoh, Nixon and Rono.

Arkansas’ men earned the most first-team honors with 14, followed by Indiana (11), Ohio State (10), and Florida and LSU (9). Among conferences, the Southeastern Conference led all leagues with 44 men’s first-team All-America certificates, followed by the Big Ten (41), Big 12 (25) and Pac-12 (19).

First-team honors were given to those who placed in the championships’ top eight or were a member of an eight-person final. Second-team honors were handed out to those who earned final classification between ninth and 16th place. Others who participated earned honorable mention.

A tape-delay broadcast of the NCAA Indoor Championships will air Sunday, March 18 at 6:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPNU. For more information about Arkansas track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRzorbacks.com.

2012 USTFCCCA All-AmericansFirst TeamNeil Braddy – 4x400mCaleb Cross – 60m hurdlesAkheem Gauntlett – 200m, 4x400mAndrew Irwin – pole vaultKevin Lazas – heptathlonAnthony Lieghio – DMRLeoman Momoh – DMRMarek Niit – 400m, 4x400mGunnar Nixon – heptathlonPatrick Rono – DMRBen Skidmore – 4x400mTravis Southard – DMR

Second TeamNeil Braddy – 400mNoah Kittelson – high jump

Download: 2012 USTFCCCA All-Americans, men.pdf



Sports Category : Track & Field (M)