Relay Weekend And The Collegiate Outdoor Record Book

The fourth week of April is ripe for collegiate outdoor records to fall in relay events.

That’s not by coincidence, either. Take one look at the competition calendar and see why.

From The USTFCCCA: This Weekend’s Meets | Broadcast Schedule

For more than 100 years, the Drake Relays and the Penn Relays have annually wrapped up the year’s fourth month and featured incredible collegiate performances. This year marks the 124th installment of the Penn Relays, while the Drake Relays holds its 109th iteration.

There are 16 instances of collegiate outdoor relay records (eight per gender) and seven of them have been established at either the Drake Relays or the Penn Relays. The most recent record to fall at either was the women’s 4×1600 standard in 2015, which is currently held by Oklahoma State at 18:58.11.

Getting The Baton Around

Here is a look at the collegiate outdoor record book as it pertains to relay records. Only the 4×100 and 4×400 are contested at the NCAA Championships.
Event Program Mark Meet Year
Men’s 4×100 TCU 38.23A NCAAs 1989
Women’s 4×100 LSU
Oregon
42.12 SEC Relays
Mt. SAC Relays
2017
         
Men’s 4×200 TCU 1:19.67 Penn Relays 2000
Women’s 4×200 Oregon 1:28.78 Florida Relays 2017
         
Men’s 4×400 LSU 2:59.59 NCAAs 2005
Women’s 4×400 Oregon 3:23.13 NCAAs 2017
         
Men’s 4×800 Arizona State 7:08.96 Sun Angel 1984
Women’s 4×800 Tennessee 8:17.91 Penn Relays 2009
         
Men’s 4×1500 Arkansas 14:50.2h Penn Relays 1985
Women’s 4×1500 Tennessee 17:08.34 Penn Relays 2009
         
Men’s 4xMile Oregon 16:03.27 Oregon Twilight 2009
Women’s 4xMile* Oklahoma State 18:58.11 Drake Relays 2015
         
Men’s Sprint Medley Texas A&M 3:11.94 SEC Relays 2017
Women’s Sprint Medley Texas A&M 3:39.04 SEC Relays 2017
         
Men’s Distance Medley Arkansas 9:20.10 Penn Relays 1989
Women’s Distance Medley Villanova 10:48.38 Penn Relays 1988

Teams will flock once again to Philadelphia and Des Moines, Iowa, but a new meet emerged from the pack to make relay weekend even stronger and to strike even more fear into the collegiate outdoor record book: Arkansas’ National Relay Championships (SCHEDULE | ENTRIES).

Sixteen teams from Power 5 conferences converge on John McDonnell Field this weekend for the meet modeled after the IAAF World Relays. There will be seven relay events contested in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with a number of other individual events as well. Only the relay events will be televised on the SEC Network on Saturday and contribute toward team scoring.

With a litany of elite athletes in attendance, it would be hard-pressed for the National Relay Championships not to have the same impact – or more of one – that the SEC Relays did when they were held last year. It was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where three collegiate relay records were broken or tied as Texas A&M’s men and women lowered the sprint medley standards to 3:11.94 and 3:39.04, respectively, and LSU’s women tied Oregon’s 4×100 mark of 42.12.

Even though it’s called the National Relay Championships, keep an eye on one individual event in particular: the women’s 400 hurdles. Lost in the mix of the start list due to not having a seeded time – but not in the minds of everybody else – is Kentucky’s Sydney McLaughlin. The freshman phenom has put together an outstanding year so far and this is her collegiate debut in the hurdles. McLaughlin has a PR of 53.82 from high school and competed in the event at the Rio Olympics. If she runs sub-54, she’ll make the all-time collegiate top-10.