Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
Hogs tie for Drake Relays title
Arkansas' Neil Braddy leads UTEP's Abiola Onakoya during the university men's 1600-meter relay at the Drake Relays athletics meet on Friday, April 25, 2014, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas' men won two events and finished runner-up in two others, and the No. 4 Razorbacks finished as co-champions of the Hyvee Cup at the prestigious Drake Relays this weekend.
Anthony May won the high jump with a mark of 7-3.75 and finished with a personal-best 53-0.75 in the triple jump for second place to lead Arkansas. May's triple jump is the best this year in the NCAA. He finished behind Iowa Western Community College jumper Latario Collie-Minns.
“May’s performances were exceptional today,” Arkansas coach Chris Bucknam said. “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.”
The Razorbacks' 4x400 meter relay team of Jarrion Lawson, Travis Southard, Omar McLeod and Neil Braddy also won their event. The 4x100 relay team of McLeod, Lawson, Braddy and Curtis Brown were runners up.
Braddy held off Illinois in the final leg of the 4x400 relay to help the Razorbacks tie the Fighting Illini for the meet title. Arkansas' time of 3:03.89 is the nation's fifth-best this season.
“I’m very proud of Braddy today,” Bucknam said. “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 4x100, giving us a slight lead handing off to Brown. And with the entire field chasing him on the anchor leg of the 4x400 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.
“With all of the spotlight and pressure on them, this group of athletes put on an amazing performance. 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.”
Arkansas' No. 9 women had two runner-up finishes at the meet. The Razorbacks' 1,600-meter relay team of Brianna Swinton, Daina Harper, Regine Williams and Chrishuna Williams finished second in 3 minutes, 32.18 seconds.
The sprint medley relay team of Regine Williams, Harper, Chrishuna Williamas and Stephanie Brown finished second in 3:48.25.