UA takes national relays sweep

By: Bob Holt
Published: Sunday, April 28, 2019
Arkansas runners Janeek Brown (left), Kiara Parker (center) and Kethlin Campbell celebrate after winning the 400-meter relay during the National Relay Championships on Saturday, April 27, 2019, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas runners Janeek Brown (left), Kiara Parker (center) and Kethlin Campbell celebrate after winning the 400-meter relay during the National Relay Championships on Saturday, April 27, 2019, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The meet is called the National Relay Championships, but the University of Arkansas men's and women's track and field teams made sure the locals won and the trophies stayed at home.

Arkansas' No. 1-ranked women's team and No. 15 men outscored 10 opponents from the Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC to sweep the relay titles as the meet concluded Saturday at John McDonnell Field.

NATIONAL RELAY CHAMPIONSHIPS TEAM SCORES

The Arkansas men’s and women’s teams swept titles for scoring only in the six relays run this weekend at the National Relay Championships in Fayetteville:

MEN’S SCORING

  1. Arkansas 36
  2. Texas 31
  3. Kansas State 29
  4. TCU 20
  5. Baylor 16
  6. Kansas 11
  7. Oklahoma 10
  8. Mississippi State 7
  9. Washington 6
  10. Oklahoma State 5
  11. Stanford 4

WOMEN’S SCORING

  1. Arkansas 54
  2. Texas 38
  3. Kansas State 34

tie 4. Baylor 15

Tie 4. TCU 15

  1. Oklahoma 12
  2. Kansas 7
  3. Mississippi State 8

Note: Oklahoma State, Stanford and Washington didn’t score

Adding to the fun for Arkansas is that both of its teams beat Texas, the Razorbacks' old Southwest Conference rival.

The Razorbacks women's team won four of six relays and finished with 54 points, with Texas second at 38.

The men's team won two relays and had two second-place finishes to win with 36 points. Texas was second with 31 points.

Senior Payton Chadwick and sophomore Janeek Brown helped Arkansas win the 400 meters and shuttle hurdle relays.

"Payton and Janeek basically stole the show," Razorbacks women's Coach Lance Harter said.

Kiara Parker, Chadwick, Brown and Kethlin Campbell won the 400 relay in 44.35 seconds. In the 400 shuttle relay -- in which the runners trade off legs running back and forth -- G'Auna Edwards, Brown, J'Alyiea Smith and Chadwick won in 56.03.

Taylor Werner, Lauren Gregory, Quinn Owen and Carina Viljoen won the 3,200 relay for the Razorbacks in 8:55.13. On Friday night, the Razorbacks won the 6,000 relay with Meghan Underwood, Owen, Sydney Brown and Maddy Reed running 17:56.89.

"To me, I don't even pay attention to the scoring aspect of it," Harter said. "If the kids have a great effort and we end up winning, that's great.

"But ultimately, let's make sure we're healthy and we're getting ready for the SEC meet."

Arkansas will host the SEC Outdoor Championships on May 9-11.

"It's good to get a team win," Razorbacks' men's Coach Chris Bucknam said. "We were second in the SEC in cross country and second indoors, so maybe this will help change the tide a little bit outdoors. It was just a good overall team effort."

Arkansas' women ran their "B" team in the 1,600 relay, but Paris Peoples, Morgan Burks-Magee, Sydney Hammit and Sydney Davis took second in 3:36.03 behind Baylor's winning time of 3:35.71.

"It was good to give those kids a chance to be in the spotlight," Harter said. "They did a nice job."

Tori Hoggard, a senior from Cabot, highlighted the individual events for the Razorbacks on Saturday by clearing 14 feet, 1½ inches to win the pole vault.

For the Arkansas men's team, Ethan Moehn, Kieran Taylor, Chase Pareti and Cameron Griffith won the 3,200 relay in 7:39.47.

"We led it off with an All-American and we anchored with an All-American, so it wasn't a play-around team," Bucknam said. "It's not an NCAA event, but it was fun for our guys to get out there and do something different."

In the men's 440 shuttle relay, the Razorbacks won with Shakiel Chattoo, Tre'Bien Gilbert, Gabe Moore and Carl Elliott running 57.81.

Arkansas' 1,600 relay team of Rhayko Schwartz, John Winn, Roy Ejiakuekwu and Hunter Woodhall ran 3:08.66 to take second behind Baylor, which won 3:07.81.

In the 400 relay, the Razorbacks were disqualified because Woodhall and Kris Hari had a late exchange outside of the zone.

On Friday night, Rashad Boyd, Travean Caldwell, Winn and Kieran Taylor took second for the Razorbacks in the sprint medley relay in 3:16.54.

"It's always good to be competing at home this time of year," Bucknam said. "This is a world-class facility with an extremely fast track."

The times would have been faster Saturday if not for a strong wind after ideal conditions Friday.

"[Saturday] was more about survival with the wind," Harter said. "But to compete the way we did is a tribute to our kids to get some good work done in a tough situation."

Bucknam said he was thankful that at least it was sunny Saturday.

"The wind was tough, but baseball has got to play in it and football plays in it," he said. "It's what we do."

Arkansas' teams were awarded crystal vases as trophies for winning the relay titles.

"It's aways nice to win," Harter said. "Now I've got to get my wife some flowers to put in the vase."

Saturday's relays were condensed into a two-hour window from 10 a.m to noon so the races could be televised live by the SEC Network.

"We weren't thrilled about the 10 to noon, but you've got to take the times they give you if we want the television exposure," Bucknam said. "We've got to keep growing our sport."

Bucknam said he wants to see the National Relay Championships -- which debuted last year -- keep growing as well.

"I think we're gaining some traction with this meet," Bucknam said. "We definitely want to continue hosting it."

Sports on 04/28/2019

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