Relay Weekend & The Collegiate Record Book

It’s Relay Carnival Weekend in collegiate track & field.

That means teams will be passing the baton and competing for watches, wheels and a number of other prizes across the nation at the 125th Penn Relays, the 110th Drake Relays or the second year of the Arkansas National Relay Championships.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZone: Meets & Results

We’ve seen a litany of incredible performances over the years in relay events and those efforts aren’t limited to occurring in Des Moines, Iowa, Philadelphia or more recently, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Three collegiate relay records fell last year, including two at the 2018 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. That’s where Houston took down TCU’s 29-year-old mark in the 4×100 and Southern California broke LSU’s 13-year-old standard in the 4×400 and nearly became the first collegiate program to go sub-2:59.00. Speaking of the Bayou Bengals, LSU’s women were the beneficiaries of the other record, going 42.05 in the 4×100 at the SEC Championships.

Let’s take a look at the collegiate record book as it pertains to relay events.

Collegiate Relay Records – Men

Event Team Mark Year
4×100 Houston 38.17 2018
4×200 TCU 1:19.67 2000
4×400 Southern California 2:59.00 2018
4×800 Arizona State 7:08.96 1984
4xMile Oregon 16:03.27 2009
SMR Texas A&M 3:11.94 2017
DMR Arkansas 9:20.10 1989
SHR South Carolina 54.08 2003

Collegiate Relay Records – Women

Event Team Mark Year
4×100 LSU 42.05 2018
4×200 Oregon 1:28.78 2017
4×400 Oregon 3:23.13 2017
4×800 Villanova 8:17.45 2013
4×1500 Tennessee 17:08.34 2009
SMR Texas A&M 3:39.04 2017
DMR Villanova 10:48.38 1988

Academy of Art
Texas A&M

52.50 2013

OK. Time to zoom in closer.

Seven of those records were set at either the Drake Relays or the Penn Relays. If you want to be a stickler about it, six of the seven were established at Franklin Field with only Academy of Art’s SHR mark coming in Des Moines (The Urban Knights are also the only non-NCAA DI program on the chart).

Can we enhance it even more? You bet.

Back in 2013, Villanova and Oregon squared off in the Championships of America Women’s 4×800. What transpired was nothing short of incredible. Neither the Wildcats nor the Ducks backed down as they went toe to toe throughout each of the four legs. It came down to the final kick as Villanova crossed the finish line 17 tenths of a second ahead of Oregon to win the wheel and earn the program’s second collegiate relay record.

Come on, USTFCCCA. Give it one more shot.

If you look at when each of those collegiate relay records were set, three are more than three decades old, including one that was set back in 1984.

Men’s 4×800 | Arizona State – 7:08.96

The Sun Devil quartet of Pete Richardson (1:47.5), Eddie Davis (1:47.8), Treg Scott (1:48.1) and Mike Stahr (1:45.6) got the baton around in 7:08.96 now 35 years ago. The closest that any other team has got to that mark since then was Penn State in 1985 and it fell more than two seconds short. Virginia took an honest swing at it back in 2011 and ran 7:12.15, the fastest time in the past 34 years.

Men’s DMR | Arkansas – 9:20.10

The Razorback quartet of Reuben Reina (2:53.9), Charles Williams (46.4), Robert Bradley (1:46.0) and Joe Falcon (3:53.8) got the baton around in 9:20.10 now 30 years ago. That came two years after Georgetown and Villanova put on a race for the ages at the 1987 Penn Relays to set what were then the No. 1 (9:20.96) and No. 2 (9:21.03) times in collegiate history. Michigan was the closest out of any team since the turn of the millennium with its 9:22.57 in 2005.

Women’s DMR | Villanova – 10:48.38

The Wildcat quartet of Kathy Franey (3:21.0), Michelle Bennett (52.8), Celete Halliday (2:04.7), Vicki Huber (4:29.9) got the baton around in 10:48.38 at the 1988 Penn Relays. Villanova isn’t a stranger to top times in the DMR as the program owns five of the top-8 performances in collegiate history. Michigan took a serious crack at the venerable record in 2008 but fell eight-tenths of a second short.

Fast forward. Back to the present.

Could we see a collegiate relay record fall this weekend? Let’s just say if collegians are running, there is always a chance.

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