DES MOINES, Iowa – The Razorbacks’ 4×400-meter relay team clocked the third-fastest time in school history to close out Arkansas’ competition schedule Saturday at the 103rd Annual Drake Relays. The team of Marek Niit, Akheem Gauntlett, Ben Skidmore and Neil Braddy posted a time of 3:02.47 to finish second in the weekend’s event finale. Arkansas opened the day with a runner-up finish in the distance-medley relay.
With their time of 3:02.47, Niit (45.94), Gauntlett (45.32), Skidmore (45.97) and Braddy (44.93) became the third foursome in Arkansas history to dip below the 3:03.00 mark. The school record of 3:02.02 was set back during the 2000 season. Based on times entering the weekend and the results of Saturday’s race, Arkansas has the third-fastest time in the NCAA this season. The Razorbacks finished just .06 seconds behind SEC rival Florida in the 4×400-meter relay.
The Razorbacks had a second-place finish in the distance-medley relay with a team of Duncan Phillips (1,200-meter leg), Leoman Momoh (400m), Anthony Lieghio (800m) and Patrick Rono (1,600m). The quartet combined for a time of 9:37.55, good for Arkansas’ third runner-up finish of the weekend. The Razorbacks trailed only defending champion Minnesota.
"Finishing second always stings a little but we have to keep it in mind that it’s all part of the season’s process," head coach Chris Bucknam said. "The preparation of getting all of our guys competing at a high level is part of the process that gets us ready for the SEC and NCAA Championships. Overall, it was a productive weekend as we look forward to our championship season starting next month."
After running a pair of races with Arkansas’ shuttle-hurdle relay, Kyle Dunn returned to the track for a fifth-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles. Running on the very track in which he won Drake Relays titles as an Iowa prep standout, he had a personal-best run of 51.26. He improved upon his previous collegiate best of 51.37 which he established earlier in the month at the Arizona State Tri-Meet. Teammates Andrew Pennington and Hunter Bourke finished in 17th and 18th place, respectively.
In the first relay final of the day, the Razorbacks finished in fourth place in the sprint-medley relay. The team of Momoh, Skidmore, Gauntlett and Braddy posted a time of 3:22.01 to finish third in its heat and fourth overall.
The Razorbacks return to action for their home finale Friday with the Arkansas Twilight at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville. The meet is scheduled for an 11 a.m. (CT) start with running events beginning at 6 p.m. For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
1,500 Meters5. Scott Gillespie – 3:54.07
400m Hurdles5. Kyle Dunn – 51.2617. Andrew Pennington – 53.1718. Hunter Bourke – 53.21
Shuttle-Hurdle Relay (final)- . Cross/Pennington/Nixon/Dunn – DQ(prelim)2. Cross/Pennington/Nixon/Dunn – 58.19q
4x400m Relay2. Niit/Gauntlett/Skidmore/Braddy – 3:02.47
Sprint-Medley Relay4. Skidmore/Gauntlett/Braddy/Momoh – 3:22.01
Jim Wheelock Distance-Medley Relay2. Phillips/Momoh/Lieghio/Rono – 9:37.55
Discus – 23. Justin Holmes – 43.96m/144-3