DES MOINES, Iowa. — The University of Arkansas men’s track and field team made a strong showing on the final day at the Drake Relays, crowned as the Co-Champions of the HyVee Cup, a team award given to the overall top-finishing relay teams. In addition, Anthony May had his best performance of the season, winning the high jump and leaping to a huge personal-best mark of 53-0.75 in the triple jump to take over the top spot in the nation. “We came out strong this week at the Drake Relays,” said Head Coach Chris Bucknam. “As we get closer to championship season, we’re working toward fine-tuning all of the little things that can ultimately be the deciding factor in winning or losing a team championship. Starting with the decathletes battling through weather, all the way up to the 4×400 relay that helped us clinch a share of the HyVee Cup Championship”
May’s strong showing started off with a win in the high jump competition at a mark of 7-3.75, the second-best performance of his outdoor career. The victory height moves May into second place in the Southeastern Conference and ties for No. 3 in the nation. After winning the team’s first event title of the meet, May moved over to the triple jump where he leaped to a nation-leading mark of 53-0.75 on this second attempt. The personal-best jump was good for a second-place finish and takes down his previous personal-best jump of 51-2 set at the Arkansas-Oregon Dual last year. Clive Pullen earned a top-five finish in triple jump with a season-best mark of 51-10 on his first jump.
“May’s performances were exceptional today,” said Bucknam. “To rise to the top in such an elite field of athletes is a true testament to the type of competitor he is. This is an opportune time to be on the right track and May proved he can compete as we transition into championships season. He is going to be a key part of our team’s success as the season progresses.”
Before the relays got underway, Omar McLeod competed in his first of three races for the day. The Drake Relays marked McLeod’s first outdoor 110-meter hurdles competition of his collegiate career, earning an impressive third-place finish in 13.91 that ranks him fifth overall in the SEC. Fellow freshman teammate Larry Donald is made a strong showing at his first Drake Relays experience with Arkansas, stepping up with a personal-best time of 52.18. “McLeod had a great weekend, ran three races on Saturday within a two-hour window,” said Bucknam of the freshman sprinter. “He ran only his second 110 high-hurdle race of the year, falling at the finish line, then came back and led off our 4×100 relay. After two races, he ran a 46.11 split on the third leg of the 4×400. Three races within two hours — great competitive effort. Very proud of his contribution to the team.” The No. 4 Razorbacks finished fourth in the sprint medley relay Saturday morning, as Jarrion Lawson, Curtis Brown, Eric Janise and Tomas Squella crossed the finish line in 3:19.60. The distance medley relay team of Cale Wallace, Janise, Andrew Pisechko and Patrick Rono earned a sixth-place finish later in the day with a time of 9:50.96 as the Razorbacks put two scoring races behind them on their way to the Hyvee Cup. “Rono gave a great effort this weekend starting with the 4×800 on Friday night,” said Bucknam. “We were just edged at the finish line by Washington. Patrick ran a little bit too aggressively early in the race— that’s my fault, I need to do a better job of tempering that enthusiasm.” Arkansas finished strong on the day with the sprint relays in route to the HyVee Cup, starting with a runner-up finish in the 4×100-meter relay. McLeod, Lawson, Neil Braddy and Brown finished in 39.61, good for the sixth-best time in the SEC and eighth in the nation. Trailing the University of Illinois by two points, the HyVee Cup came down to the final race in the 4×400-meter relay. The Razorbacks defeated Illinois to even the score and earn a share of the award alongside the Fighting Illini. “With all of the spotlight and pressure on them, this group of athletes put on an amazing performance,” said Bucknam. “At a crucial time during the meet, they left it all out on the track and got the job done, and I couldn’t be more proud. It’s a great sign that we’re ready to compete and proves that we rise to any occasion and get the win.” Lawson led off in this third race of the day, handing off to Southard who brought Arkansas to the front of the pack. McLeod held on strong for the third leg, passing off to Braddy who brought it home with Illinois on the Razorback’s heels. “I’m very proud of Braddy today,” said Bucknam of the senior. “He wasn’t feeling well all week leading up to the relays and he stepped up in a big way. He ran a great third leg of the 4×100, giving us a slight lead handing off to Brown. And with the entire field chasing him on the anchor leg of the 4×400 he held all the teams off and gave us a big win. He’s been an integral part of our program, making an impact since his freshman year and, to me, he’s never looked better than he did this weekend.” The winning time of 3:03.89 was a season-best for the Razorbacks, ranking fifth in the nation and fourth in the SEC. The first-place time moves Lawson, Southard, McLeod and Braddy into the No. 7 spot all-time in Arkansas history. Arkansas will return to John McDonnell Field next weekend as the Razorbacks host the Arkansas Twilight Friday night. For more information on Razorback Track and Field, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter. Drake Relays Results 4×100-Meter Relay 2. McLeod/Lawson/Braddy/Brown — 39.51 4×400-Meter Relay 1. Lawson/Southard/McLeod/Braddy — 3:03.89 110-Meter Hurdles (Finals) 3. McLeod — 13.91 400-Meter Hurdles 11. Larry Donald — 52.18 (PR — prev. 52.63) Sprint Medley Relay 4. Lawson/Brown/Janise/Squella — 3:19.60 Distance Medley Relay 6. Wallace/Janise/Pisechko/Rono — 9:50.96 High Jump 1. Anthony May — 7-3.75 5. Noah Kittelson — 6-11.5 8. Dwayne Golbek — 6-11.5 11. Ken LeGassey — 6-9.75 Triple Jump 2. Anthony May — 53-0.75 (PR — prev. 51-3) 5. Clive Pullen — 51-10 Shot Put 18. Devin Randall — 54-6 Discus 19. Devin Randall — 160-9