FAYETTEVILLE – Marek Niit, a member of the No. 14 University of Arkansas men’s track and field team, has been named the Southeastern Conference Male Runner of the Week as announced Tuesday by the league office. Opening the outdoor season at the Arkansas-Texas-UCLA Triangular in Austin, Niit won the 100 meters and was part of the Razorbacks’ 4×100-meter relay that finished second.
"Early on, we don’t always have our kids running in their strongest events," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "For example, we had Marek running the 100 meters and he ran a solid 10.21. Whenever you have an athlete with great range, good things can happen. We’re seeing that with Marek Niit. He has great range, anywhere from the 100 to the 400 meters."
Niit posted the top time in the NCAA of 10.21 in winning the 100 meters at the season-opening meet. Additionally, the time is currently No. 4 in world. The Kuressaare, Estonia, native also ran anchor leg for Arkansas’ 4×100-meter relay which ran to a time of 39.91, a faster result than any Razorback relay last season. The relay time is currently No. 6 in the NCAA.
With his performance, Niit established a national record for his native Estonia. He is now the owner of four Estonian national marks with the indoor 200 and 400 meters and outdoor 100 and 200 meters. Aside from his duties with the sprint relay, the race in Austin marked his first career start in the open 100 meters.
After a week on the road to open the outdoor season, Arkansas returns to its home facility Saturday to host the Razorback Spring Invitational. The one-day competition will be held at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville. Field events begin at 1 p.m. (CT) and running events start at 3 p.m.