NEW – Penn Relays

RAZORBACKS AT THE PENN RELAYS

A Time line

The Penn Relays belonged to Villanova University. They had been the dominant force at the Penn Relays for decades. The Wildcats regularly had world leaders such as Ronnie Delaney, Marty Liquori, Don Paige, Mark Belger and Eamonn Coghlan to handle the all important anchor duties. It is little wonder they were on a run of 15 straight distance medley relays when the Hogs made their first ever appearance in 1981. Smaller wonder still that they would make it 16 straight with the future 1500m world record holder, Sydney Maree in their ranks. He would anchor 3 winning teams that weekend and send the Razorbacks back to Fayetteville empty handed. Although discouraged, Arkansas would return to the historic Franklin Field and face the challenge that is the PENN RELAYS.

IT IS the magical moment on Friday afternoon, when the young men of Arkansas, Georgetown, Villanova, Michigan, and of other schools that dare to challenge tradition, walk from the paddock to the starting line to begin the Distance Medley Relay, the most perfect race in the most perfect meet in the most perfect sport on earth.

IT IS THE PENN RELAYS (Credit Bob Hersh: Memories of Penn, 2003)

There were innumerable moments to treasure: close calls, spectacular legs, runaway victories and agonizing defeats. There were engaging rivalries with fine athletes from Villanova, Georgetown and Michigan and captivating anchor legs featuring duels between the top milers of their class – Donovan & O’Sullivan, Falcon & Cheruiyot, Reina & Trautmann and Lassiter & Sullivan. Here are some highlights of the Razorbacks at Penn.

Notes:

Many of the photographs used were received from athletes and some were sourced from old newspaper clippings (I know you could tell). In two instances photographs were acquired from Gameface and a few more appear with the Getty Images watermark. Finally, the University of Arkansas is the likely origin of many of the photographs including those received from athletes. I would like to thank all original rights holders and assure them that the purpose is to inform and educate Razorback track fans.

All statistics are (mostly) accurate as of season end 2020. Same goes for the race recollections. Corrections welcomed.

1981

Arkansas, made its debut appearance at the Penn Relays, finishing a disappointing 4th in the DMR and second in the 4 X1500 to Villanova.

In the 4 X 1500m, Frank O’Mara, the Arkansas junior tried to put Friday’s poor anchor behind him. O’Mara received the baton with a slight lead on Sydney Maree of Villanova who tracked O’Mara for 3 laps. Maree sought the lead at the bell but O’Mara held his ground. In a last lap duel that saw both race side by side, Maree prevailed in the last few meters. The last lap was covered in 52 seconds. Encouraging!

1983

3 Championship of America titles:

SMR – 3.15.22
(Spearmon, Conley, Williams & Redwine)
DMR – 9.25.76
(Donovan, Williams, Redwine & O’Mara)
4 X 1500m – 15.15.73
(Moloney, Leonard, Donovan & O’Mara)

Freshman Paul Donovan led off with a 2.51.8 1200 (#13 all time). Stanley Redwine and Ed Williams kept the Hogs at the front. Frank O’Mara received the baton with company and waited till 250 before kicking for the win. O’Mara brought home the first ever Championship of America with a 3.59.0 anchor.Villanova finish 5th.

The SMR came down to Villanova versus Arkansas again. In a proper duel, Stanley Redwine, held off John Marshall of Villanova with a 1.46.0 800m leg. Mike Conley, Wallace Spearmon and Ed Williams completed the foursome.

Villanova changed their strategy and put their best athlete on an earlier leg of the 4 X 1500m relay team. Tony Leonard, Tommy Moloney and Paul Donovan kept the Hogs at the front and O’Mara brought home the title. Villanova finished a distant second.

Frank O’Mara won the Outstanding Athlete Award

1984

1 Championship of America title:

DMR – 9.26.57
(Taylor, DuPont, Williams & Donovan)

Villanova was gunning for the Razorbacks after the previous year’s triple loss, and anchor, Marcus O’Sullivan was determined to put the Wildcats back on top. Paul Donovan, who ran so well as a freshman on the 1200m leg the previous year was not about to roll over. In a classic duel, Paul out kicked his countryman, Marcus O’Sullivan, to win the DMR on Friday. The following day, smarting from the loss in the DMR, the Villanova anchor got his revenge in a similarly hard fought victory in the 4 X 1500m.

Both relays were equally close affairs and both won with a kick – a harbinger of future rivalries between the best NCAA milers of each class.

1985

4 Championship of America titles:

4 X 100 – 39.0
4 X 200 – 1.20.9
(Cleary, Haley, Conley & Spearmon, Snr)
DMR – 9.28.2
(Consiglio, Haley, Taylor, Donovan)
4 X 1500m – 14.50.2 COLLEGIATE RECORD
(Iovine, Swain, Taylor & Donovan)

Arkansas won 4 relays for the first time, and Roddy Haley ran on 3 of those teams. 2 sprint relays with Mike Conley, Fred Cleary and Wallace Spearmon, Snr. He also ran a 44.2 leg on the winning DMR team which was anchored by Paul Donovan. Paul got a 15m lead on Abdi Bile, the George Mason anchor, and 1987 World 1500m Champion. It’s no fun when an athlete of Bile’s caliber is hunting you, but Paul was up to the task and his 3.56.8 split held off Bile who closed in 3.55.2.

The 4 X 1500m the following day was out of this world. After Keith Iovine fell behind in the opening leg, Gary Taylor produced a scintillating 3.38.6, the second fastest of all time, to put the Razorbacks in front .  David Swain produced a 3.41.6 to further extend the lead and gave Paul Donavan an unassailable gap. With a lap remaining Paul noticed the clock read 13.52 and that the collegiate record was within reach. He duly delivered a 58 last lap for a 3.41.2 final leg. The winning time of 14.50.2 still stands as the Collegiate Record. The team was inducted to the Relays Hall of Fame in 2000.

Roddie Haley’s 3 victories earned him the Outstanding Athlete Award.

1986

2 Championship of America titles:

DMR – 9.22.6 – THEN COLLEGIATE RECORD & NOW #8 ALL TIME
(Taylor, Haley, Borge & Consiglio)
4 X 1500 – 14.55.32 #6 ALL TIME
(Iovine, Taylor, Borge & Consiglio)

Arkansas wins its 4 straight DMR and 3rd 4 X 1500m relay. Gary Taylor led off with 2.51.2 (# 8 all time)Then Roddie Haley produced one the greatest highlights ever at Penn – an unforgettable 43.5 – the fastest ever for 400. Espen Borge added a 1.48.9. Doug Consiglio anchored in 3.59 for a then Collegiate Record and currently the #3 all time performance.

In the 4 X 1500m, Iovine and Borge set up Gary Taylor who produced a scintillating 3.36.2 – the fastest ever 1500 leg. Doug Consiglio’s anchor of 3.44.6 delivered the 6th fastest time ever.

1987

2 Championship of America titles:

4 X 400 – 3.04.3
(Register, Clemons, Brown, Haley)
4 X 1500 – 15.07.3
( Reina, Falcon, Taylor, M & Taylor, G)

The “Rocket” Haley had the crowd on their feet as he rallied from 4th place to beat Florida on the anchor of the 4 X 400 team. Roddie’s last trip around Franklin Field took 45.1 seconds.

A lead off leg of 2.52.0 by Gary Taylor, followed by Roddie Haley’s 44.4, and Lorenzo Brown’s 1.46.9 gave a slight lead to Doug Consiglio who, although running a 3.59.0 final leg, was beaten by Mike Stahr’s 3.54.9 as Georgetown broke Arkansas’s Collegiate Record from 1986.

Gary Taylor finally pulled anchor duty at Penn on the 4 X 1500m Relay. He sat in the pack and launched his kick with 200m remaining outdistancing Villanova’s Gerry O’Reilly and Indiana’s Charlie Marsala for the title. Joe Falcon made his Relays’ debut with a 3.44.5 leg.

Arkansas was a close second to Penn State in the 4 X 800m.

1988

2 Championship of America titles:

DMR – 9.29.2
(Taylor, Register, Brown & Falcon)
4 X 1500m – 14.57.87 #7 ALL TIME
(Henry, Reina, Taylor & Falcon)

Joe Falcon received the stick after legs of 2.54 from Matt Taylor, 46.7 from John Register and 1.48.9 from Lorenzo Brown. At the exchange, Indiana had the lead and Falcon happily followed their anchor, Charles Marsala for 3 1/2 laps. Joe made a determined move with 200m remaining and won easily by 25 meters. His anchor 1600m was 3.59.6.

The 4 X 1500 turned into a 4 way conflict between Arkansas, Georgetown, Kentucky and Indiana and it inevitably became an anchor battle. Mike Stahr of Georgetown took up the running at halfway, followed a half lap later by Mark Deady of Indiana. This insertion of pace dropped Kentucky. Falcon tried to take it up at the 300m but was rebuffed by Deady. At the top of the straight Joe made a final push and gapped the other two by 12 meters. His 3.39.9 split sealed the deal for the Hogs.

Joe Falcon won the Outstanding Athlete Award

1989

2 Championship of America titles:

DMR – 9.20.10 COLLEGIATE RECORD
(Reina, Williams, Bradley & Falcon)
4 X 1500m – 15.16.26
(Gabor, Henry, Reina & Falcon)

The Hogs faced the most daunting foe in their entire Penn Relays experience. Mount St. Mary’s had the Cheruiyot brothers both Olympic finalists, David Lishebo an Olympian from Zambia and Peter Rono, the 1500 Olympic Gold medalist. Pundits expected a MSM victory in a world record time. After a morning discussion with John, the hogs were equally motivated and determined to give a good account of themselves.

Reuben Reina set the tone when he stayed within half a second of the Olympic Champion on the opening 1200m. Charles Williams delivered a solid 46.4. Villanova and MSM had alternated the lead until Robert Bradley’s 1.46.0 on the third leg. Bradley improved his personal best by almost 2 seconds as he overtook Charles Cheruiyot and handed the baton to Joe Falcon in front. Falcon ran a hard first lap and then Kip Cheruiyot took the front running responsibility. He led until Falcon shot by with 200m left and held on for a famous victory by 10 meters. Falcon’s anchor 1600m was timed In 3.53.8 and Cheruiyot recorded 3.53.0. The two fastest splits ever at Penn. It took a World Record alright but it was the Hogs who delivered on that pre-race prediction. To this day it remains the Collegiate Record.

After the first 3 legs of the 4 X 1500m, Joe Falcon was given a 2 meter lead over Frank Conway and Providence. Joe did little more than jog and at the bell 6 teams were in contention. Conway jumped the field and opened an 8m gap down the backstretch. It looked grim for Joe but he began his kick with 200 left, caught Conway with 40 m left and won by 4 meters. His anchor split was 3.55.9 but a 52.9 last lap got the job done

Joe Falcon won the Outstanding Athlete Award for the second consecutive year.

1990

1 Championship of America title:

4 X 1500 – #5 ALL TIME
(Contreras, Boakes, Henry & Reina)

Reuben Reina and John Trautmann were rivals for many NCAA championships, and they met at Penn as anchors of their respective teams. Like Paul Donovan in 1984 and. Eric Henry the following year, Reuben Reina exchanged victories with his Georgetown rival. In both relays, the Hogs had leads going into the final leg. On Friday, Reuben chose not to press his advantage and allowed Trautmann back into the race too easily. Trautmann grabbed his opportunity and kicked home for a narrow victory.

After a conversation with John at the hotel that night, the Hogs rallied for the 4 X 1500m. Reina again received the stick with a slight lead, but this time he put the hammer down from the start and ran the first 800 in 1.57. Discouraged at his inability to close the gap and the continued high tempo, Trautmann faltered. Meanwhile, Reuben maintained the pressure all the way to the line, and the Hogs won by 45 meters over Georgetown.

1991

1 Championship of America title:

DMR – 9.22.24 # 6 ALL TIME
(Boakes, Contreras & Henry)

Johan Boakes opens with a 1200 split of 2.51.9 (# 14 all time) and for the first 3 legs it was Arkansas and Georgetown or Georgetown and Arkansas. At the final exchange, John Trautmann of Georgetown had a 7 meter lead over Eric Henry. Henry tracked Trautmann until he took the initiative with 300 remaining. This move by Eric did not shake Trautmann who drew even with 70m left and forged a lead at 40m. Both fought on until Trautmann’s legs began to buckle, and Eric out leaned him on the line for a hard fought victory. Henry’s inspired anchor was 3.55.0 versus 3.55.3 for Trautmann.

The Razorbacks, tired from the previous day’s exertion failed to show up for the 4 x 1500, and Georgetown returned the favor much like the previous year’s outcome but reversed.

1992

2 Championship of America titles:

DMR – 9.26.62
(Schiefer, Coleman, Hood & Bruton)
4 X 1500m – 15.01.62
(Contreras, Schiefer, Bruton & Hood)

For most of the anchor leg of the DMR, Arkansas’s Niall Bruton and Villanova’s Louie Quintana alternated the lead with Georgetown’s Steve Holman 15 meters adrift. With 250 to go, Niall went by Quintana for good and held off a fast finishing Steve Holman by 7 meters. Holman closed in 3.57.0 compared with Bruton’s 3.58.6.

The team of John Schiefer, Scott Coleman, Graham Hood and Bruton were timed in 9.26.62 in Arkansas’ eighth win in the last 11 years. Georgetown clocked 9:27.65 and Villanova was third in 9:28.88.

Arkansas won its 7th 4 X 1500m Relay. With solid legs from all 4 Hogs and a decisive anchor from Graham Hood, Arkansas recorded a time of 15.01.62 – a full 7 seconds ahead of second placed Wisconsin and a further second ahead of 3rd placed Louie Quintana and Villanova.

Niall Bruton won the Outstanding Athlete Award

1993

1 Championship of America title:

DMR – 9.31.17
(Morin, Davis, Boykins & Bruton)

Niall Bruton on the anchor for the Razorbacks got the stick from his teammates with a 25m lead over Louie Quintana. Quintana with the aid of a 55 first lap caught Bruton with 250m remaining, but Niall immediately responded and won the sprint to the finish line. Niall’s 1600m split was 4.01.3; Quintana 3.57.6.

In the 4 x 1500m relay, misfortune knocked the Hogs out of contention. On the third leg the Villanova runner, Brad Sumner, knocked the baton out of John Schiefer’s hands as he passed him. By the time Schiefer had recovered the stick and reached the handoff to Niall Bruton, the Hogs were 35m adrift. Niall hurriedly made up the margin but had no response when Quintana made a move with 200 to go. Arkansas faded to 4th

1994

2 Championship of America titles:

DMR – 9.28.07
(Baker, Davis, Hood & Bruton)
4 X 1500m – 14.52.81 #2 ALL TIME
(Bunston, Baker, Bruton & Hood)

Arkansas fielded a team that included 3 future Olympians (96 Atlanta). After an opening 2.53.8 from Arkansas native Brian Baker and legs of 44.9 from Calvin Davis and 1.46.8 from Graham Hood the victory was insured by an untroubled 4.02.6 from Niall Bruton on the anchor. The super talented hogs ran out a 7 second victory over Georgetown and Villanova.

Graham Hood took over anchor duties in the 4 X 1500 and closed out the relay in a dominating performance. His anchor 1500 was the 14th fastest 1500m at Penn – 3.40.2. The Hogs were 12 seconds clear of runner up Providence College at the finish.

Graham Hood won the Outstanding Athlete Award

1995

2 Championship of America titles:

DMR – 9.23.42
(Morin, Thompson, Rock & Hood)
4 X 1500 – 15.05.38
(Wilson, Morin, Bunston & Hood)

On Friday, in a final leg battle between two of the best college milers, the Razorbacks’ Graham Hood of Canada held off the Wolverines’ Kevin Sullivan, also of Canada, to win the distance medley relay. Graham became the only male athlete to win 4 distance medley relays.

Michigan tried a different tactic in the 4 X 1500m relay. Instead of running Sullivan on the anchor leg, Michigan had him run the third leg. Sullivan turned a 60-meter deficit into a 7-meter lead with a 1,500-meter leg in 3 minutes 39.1 seconds. This just delayed the inevitable. Scott McDonald failed to capitalize on his narrow advantage. Graham Hood sat on McDonald until 700 meters were left. Then Hood raced by MacDonald and won by 25 meters, Arkansas’s 10th victory in 12 years in this race.

1996

1 Championship of America title:

4 X 1500m – 15.13.8
Price, Bunston, Lassiter & Wilson)

Arkansas failed to make it 6 in a row in the DMR in a race that was comprehensively won by George Mason and their in-form Ugandan anchor, Julius Achon.

The Razorbacks made amends with a determined performance on Saturday in the 4 x 1500m. Georgetown led for most of the race but with two laps remaining on the anchor leg seven teams were still in contention. At the bell, Ryan Wilson bolted into the lead, powered down the back straight and held off all challengers as Arkansas won its 11th 4 X 1500m relay. The finishing time of 15.13 was good considering the wind chill of 50 F and winds of 20 mph.

1997

2 Championship of America titles:

DMR – 9.30.01
(Levy, Leon, Price & Lassiter)
4 X 1500 – 15.02.08
(Power, Wilson, Price & Lassiter)

George Mason had won the NCAA Indoor DMR, were defending Penn Relays champions and had the previous year’s Outstanding Athlete, Julius Achon, anchoring. Achon was given a 3-meter lead starting the anchor leg, and off past history, he seemed unbeatable. But Seneca Lassiter was undeterred and sat on Achon until about 60 meters from the end of the 1,600-meter leg. Then, Lassiter blew past the tiring Achon and went on to win by about 10 meters. Seneca’s split was 3.56.9 compared to a 3.58.0 for the George Mason anchor. Kevin Sullivan of Michigan was a further 3 seconds back with a 3.59.0 anchor leg.

Arkansas won the 4 X 1500m relay in 15:02.08 as Seneca Lassiter out dueled Kevin Sullivan of Michigan over the final 200 meters. Lassiter led by about 15 meters starting the final leg of the relay thanks to strong legs from the team, particularly a 3.42.1 contribution from Ryan Wilson. Sullivan kept whittling the deficit until he caught Lassiter with 300 meters left. The two ran side by side for about 100 meters, before Lassiter broke away and raced to a 15-meter victory, the Razorbacks’ fifth straight in the event and their 11th in 13 years. Lassiter finished with a 3:44.5 split.

Seneca Lassiter won the Outstanding Athlete Award.

1998

1 Championship of America title:

4 X MILE – 16.11.82 – #6 ALL TIME
(Price, Kerr, Power & Lassiter)

Lassiter out kicked Sullivan twice the previous year, first in the Penn Relays and then in the NCAA championships. The two rivals met on the 1600m anchor leg of the men’s distance medley. When Seneca started with almost a 20-meter lead on Sullivan, the race seemed over. But Sullivan capitalized on the mostly slow pace, made up the ground, jumped Seneca with 50 left and won by 5 meters. Sullivan ran the anchor leg in 3:55.5, Lassiter in 3:58.9.

Michigan and Stanford were favored in the first running of the 4 X Mile Relay in 22 years, but Arkansas was hurt and ready to spoil the party. They did just that beating Michigan by 60 meters and missing the American Record by a little over 3 seconds. Given the windy conditions and the margin of victory, this was an exceptional performance.

1999

2 Championship of America titles:

DMR – 9.32.81
(Power, Stanley, Karanu & Lassiter)
4 X MILE – 16.07.96 THEN COLLEGIATE RECORD #2 ALL TIME
(Karie, Power, Kerr & Lassiter)
4 X 800 – 7.13.97
(Stanley, Karie, Karanu & Lassiter)

Seneca Lassiter becomes the first Razorback to anchor 3 winning relay teams in the same weekend and the first to anchor a successful 4 X 800.

Lassiter ran the anchor leg of the DMR in 3.54.3 – #3 all time. On Saturday, he anchored the 4 X 1MILE to a 50 meter victory and a new collegiate record.

Later that day the Hogs had a first at Penn – victory in the 4 X 800m Relay. Sharif Karie took the stick from Ryan Stanley and proceeded to turn a 25-meter deficit into a 10-meter lead that James Karanu extended farther with a 1:46.3 leg – the fastest of the race. Lassiter split 1:48.9 and brought the Hogs home 20 meters clear of the nearest competitor.

Seneca Lassiter won the Outstanding Athlete Award.

2000

2 Championship of America titles;

4 X MILE – 16.08.81 #3 ALL TIME
(Link, Karie, Travis & Karanu)
Shuttle Hurdle Relay – 55.37
(Lightfoot, Glover, Jackson, Brown)

A Razorback team of Sean Lightfoot, Sam Glover, Eddie Jackson and D’Marcus Brown won the only relay the Hogs had yet to win – the Shuttle Hurdle Relay in a school record of 55.37.

In what many characterized as a David vs Goliath race the University of Connecticut defeated Arkansas in the DMR. Despite a 1.45.8 split (9th fastest ever) from James Karanu, Arkansas and Connecticut were even at the final exchange. By the last lap, Sharif Karrie and the Connecticut anchor were neck and neck, and likewise with 200m remaining when the Connecticut anchor made the first move and created a small gap. He held that tiniest of margins to the finish and beat Sharif by a meager 3/100th of a second.

The following day, the Hogs were determined to atone for the loss and with legs of 4.01 or faster from Karie, Ryan Travis and the anchor, Karanu, easily won the 4 X 1 Mile relay in the third fastest time ever at Penn.

2002

2 Championship of America titles:

DMR – 9.31.21
(Lincoln, Stevens, Mulvaney & Cragg)
4 X MILE – 16.09.84 – #4 ALL TIME
(Taylor, Lincoln, Mulvaney & Cragg)

Daniel Lincoln took advantage of a dropped baton by Villanova to assert control of the 1200 leg. Robbie Stevens and Chris Mulvaney made it a two team race and gave Alistair Cragg the baton along side Jon Riley of Stanford. Cragg made a winning move with 200 remaining and won easing up in 9.31.21. Stanford were second.

In the 4 X 1 Mile, Mike Taylor and Dan Lincoln again made it a head to head confrontation with Stanford. Chris Mulvaney created separation and gave Alistair Cragg the baton with a 10 meter lead. Alistair took the first lap out fast – 56 seconds. This forced Gabe Jennings of Stanford to run 55 to catch up. Jennings immediately took the lead allowing Cragg to then sit on him until the last lap. Alistair duly blew past the Stanford anchor for a comfortable victory.

2003

2 Championship of America titles:

4 X MILE – 16.16.22
( Ahmed, Lincoln, Mulvaney & Cragg)
4 X 800 – 7.16.09
(Hatch, Vasquez, Stephens & Taylor)

Michigan, with the aid of a 2.49.7 opening 1200 from Nick Willis, gave their anchor, Nate Brannen, the stick just behind Arkansas and Alistair Cragg. Brannen sat on Cragg through the first 3 laps before bursting into the lead at the 200 meters mark. Cragg retook the lead with 100 meters left, but Brannen seized the lead for good with about 40 yards remaining to win by .2 of a second.

The Razorbacks were itching for redemption in the 4 x MILE. With Chris Mulvaney, Daniel Lincoln and Alistair Cragg, the Hogs fielded a team of three national champions and were heavily favored. These three combined with Said Ahmed to blow out the competition with a huge 17 seconds margin of victory. Alistair Cragg handled the anchor duties.

The Razorbacks anchored by Michael Taylor won the 4 X 800m Relay by 15 meters over Georgetown. This was the second victory in the 3200m relay in 5 years.

2004

3 Championship of America titles:

SMR – 3.16.14
(Brown, Spearmon, Gaston & Hatch)
DMR – 9.33.74
(Ahmed, Vasquez, Gaston & Cragg)
4 X MILE – 16.21.74
(Hatch, Ahmed, Vasquez & Cragg)

James Hatch anchored Arkansas to it’s first SMR title since 1983. Omar Brown and Wallace Spearmon, Jnr ran the 200m legs and Terry Gaston the 400m. Interestingly, Spearmon’s father was on the first successful Sprint Medley 21 years earlier.

With the freshman Sam Vazquez, the junior Terry Gatson and the junior Said Ahmed running the first three legs, Arkansas led at every pass in Friday’s Distance Medley. For the 1,600-meter anchor leg, Alistair Cragg got the baton 10 meters ahead of Georgetown. Chris Lukezic, the Georgetown anchor, closed the gap by running his first 400m in 58 seconds and then sat on Alistair. On the final backstretch, Cragg upped the pace, and Lukezic initially matched him. On the last turn, a gap of 2 or 3 meters opened, and in the final 70 meters Alistair sprinted for home. Lukezic had no answer.

The 4 X 1 MILE was essentially a 2 team race. Stanford came east with a loaded team of Andy Powell, Ryan Hall, Grant Robinson and Don Sage. At the first exchange, the race was closely bunched when James Hatch handed off to Said Ahmed. On the 2nd leg, Said Ahmed applied pressure and distanced himself from Ryan Hall. Ahmed handed the baton to Sam Vasquez 5 seconds clear. Vasquez made it very hard for Grant Robinson to close the gap. Robinson, who made the US Olympic team in the 1500m later that year, cut into the lead by 3 seconds giving Stanford a shot in the final leg. Having a 10m lead, Alistair ran the first lap hard, forcing Sage to exhaust much of his energy early. Over the final 200m Alistair gently tapped the throttle and eased to a 5 second victory over a surprised Stanford Cardinal.

2006

1 Championship of America title:

4 X MILE – 16.21.74 #8 ALL TIME
(Costello, Summerside, Rodriguez & Boit)

Josphat Boit took the baton in 6th place on the final leg of the Distance Medley and narrowed the gap with a 57 second first lap. Boit settled in for a lap, but at half way, he sprinted into the lead running a 56.5 third 400m. Boit held the lead until Leo Manzano broke for the finish with 200 remaining and held on for the win. Boit’s 3.55.78 was good for second, 3/10ths behind Texas.

Josphat Boit anchored Arkansas to its 19th 4 X 1MILE Relay title. Boit ran 3.59.4 for the final mile. He sped past Iona’s Richard Kiplagat on the final turn and held on to win by 5 meters. The team of Seth Summerside, Colin Costello, Rodriguez and Boit recorded the 8th fastest time ever.

42 Again

In 23 years, the Hogs won 42 Championships of America titles, a meaningful number in Arkansas track history. The 42 consisted of: nineteen 4 X MILE relays, fifteen Distance Medley Relays , two Sprint Medley Relays, two 4 X 800 relays, a 4 X 400 relay, a 4 X 200 relay, a 4 X 100 relay and a Shuttle Hurdles Relay. Of the 46 middle distance relays contested during that period (the Hogs went to Drake in 2001), the Hogs won 34. A remarkable body of work by Coach McDonnell and his Razorbacks.

And even more interestingly, 5 Arkansas milers won the Outstanding Track Athlete Award: Frank O’Mara (1983), Joe Falcon (1988 & 1989), Niall Bruton (1992), Graham Hood (1994) and Seneca Lassiter (1997 & 1999). All of whom went on to win NCAA titles at the distance. One sprinter, the remarkable, Roddie Haley won the Outstanding Track Athlete Award for his efforts on 3 winning teams in in 1985. The following year, he produced one of the most talked about moments at Penn, a 43.5 split on the DIstance Medley Relay. It remains the fastest ever 400 leg on any relay at Penn and likely the only time a 400 leg has clinched a Distance Medley.

The Razorbacks broke numerous relay records and still hold the collegiate records in the Distance Medley Relay and the 4 X 1500m Relay. The 1989 Quartet of Reuben Reina, Charles Williams, Robert Bradley, and Joe Falcon set a Distance Medley record running a time of 9.20.1 and the 1985 team of Keith Iovine, David Swain, Gary Taylor and Paul Donovan set the 4 X 1500m record with a time of 14.50.2. On the latter occasion, Gary Taylor contributed a 3.38.6. He won 6 Penn Relays watches and recorded the two fastest times ever on a 1500m leg (3.36.2 & 3.38.8). He also ran two of the fastest ever times for 1200m (2.51.1 & 2.52.0) and anchored the 4 X 1500 team to victory in 1987.

McDonnell and his Razorbacks certainly left their imprint on historic Franklin Field.