TEXAS A&M ran 2:59.05, the second-fastest collegiate time ever, and a record for an all-American college team. The Aggies led the entire way, but the next three teams—Florida, Houston and Iowa—traded positions with each leg, never letting A&M get out to a comfortable lead. As the 8 teams came to their blocks for the final, the team title had already been decided. Among the 4×4 finalists, only Florida and Houston were in the running for one of the four team trophies. This race would decide which team would finish 2nd and which would be 3rd.
Opening Leg: Starting On Record Pace
Texas A&M leadoff Bryce Deadmon was out best, running 45.3 and holding a slight lead down the backstretch with Florida’s Benjamin Lobo Vedel running well and staying close until the homestretch, where he faded, running 46.2. Deadmon’s carry put the Aggies 0.6 up on the pace set by USC in its CR 2:59.00 at last year’s meet. Iowa’s Wayne Lawrence had run well throughout and passed Vedel in the homestretch, his 45.5 bringing Iowa up to 2nd at the exchange. Houston had lagged down the backstretch, but only because of leading off with 400H 3rd-placer Amere Lattin, who ran with the well-paced rhythm of a 1-lap hurdler. He had the best homestretch of anyone, pulling the Cougars up to 3rd with his 45.7.
Second Leg: A&M’s Margin Grows, Record Pace Slows
Robert Grant, a long hurdles finalist, took the stick for A&M with a 2m lead over Iowa’s Antonio Woodard. He stretched that slightly through the first turn, and when the teams broke from their lanes It was A&M holding 3m, with Houston almost another 10m back. But over the course of the next half lap, 400 champ Kahmari Montgomery had pulled Houston even with Iowa, with A&M still leading by 6m. Florida’s Chantz Sawyers had tailed Montgomery and was a close 4th at the top of the final straight. Montgomery, having run 44.7, led Sawyers (44.4) down the straight as they ran nearly stride for stride, closing well on Grant (44.4) and pulling away from Woodard (45.7). Overall, A&M now had an 0.71 lead but at the same time was now 0.17 behind record pace.
Third Leg: Record Chase Back On
A&M’s Kyree Johnson started with a margin of almost 5m over Houston’s Jermain Holt with Denzel Villaman of Florida little more than another meter back. Johnson tore around the first curve, quickly extending the lead to almost 10m over Holt as Iowa’s Karayme Bartley closed on Villaman. Going into the second curve Johnson was just beginning to relinquish his big margin, which Holt cut to 7m by the top of the homestretch. Bartley passed Villaman some 30m before the stretch, and ran past Holt with 40 left. Johnson had held A&M’s lead with a 45.24, but now Iowa was back in the hunt, Bartley’s 44.22 bringing the Hawkeyes in 2nd, some 3m in arrears. Running 3rd was Houston, 2m back after Holt’s 45.26, with Florida slightly another meter behind after Villaman’s 45.26. A&M was once again ahead of USC’s record pace, now by 0.44.
Anchor Leg: Dixon Comes Up Just Short
A&M anchor Devin Dixon, the 800 runner-up, might be a halfmiler by trade, but remember that this past indoor season he turned in the fastest undercover split ever, 44.24. Here he strode around the first turn with the field in pursuit and trying to close the gap. At the top of the backstretch, he held 2m over Iowa’s Mar’yea Harris, with Houston’s Obi Igbokwe 4m back and holding another 4 over Florida’s do-everything, Grant Holloway. Entering the final curve, Dixon’s lead was down to little more than a meter over Igbokwe, with another meter to Harris.
Holloway had tightened the race and was less than two strides back of Harris and closing, but midway through the bend it appeared Holloway had run himself out and he closed no further. Igbokwe passed Harris at the top of the final homestretch, now less than 2m from the lead. But at that point Dixon began drawing away, the margin over the chasers gradually widening. But Holloway, who had entered the homestretch almost 6m back of Igbokwe and Harris, began an impassioned charge along the curb, passing Harris and then Igbokwe within 40m of the finish. Dixon’s 44.11 clinched Texas A&M’s 2:59.05, just 0.05 off the CR, with Holloway running the night’s fastest lap, a 43.74 which brought Florida home in 2:59.60, making the Gators the fourth-fastest school ever and giving the school the 2nd-place team trophy. Igbokwe’s 44.40 closed out Houston’s 3:00.07, with Iowa 4th in 3:00.14 following Harris’s 44.75.
Aggie head Pat Henry summed up his squad’s race simply, noting, “Bryce had his fastest leadoff leg ever on the 4 x 400, and the rest of the guys ran fast to get a 2:59.05. Devin knows how to run the anchor leg, and in the last 110m you’re not going to catch him. The guy is phenomenal and he knows how to win.”
NCAA MEN’S 4 x 400 RESULTS
1. Texas A&M 2:59.05 AmCR (old AmCR 2:59.59 LSU ’05) (WL, AL, CL) (2 C, NCAA; #2 school
(Bryce Deadmon 45.3, Robert Grant 44.4, DeWitt Thomas 45.24, Devin Dixon 44.11);
2. Florida 2:59.60 (=4 C, NCAA; #4 school, NCAA school)
(Benjamin Lobo Vedel’ 46.2, Chantz Sawyers’ 44.4, Denzel Villaman’ 45.26, Grant Holloway 43.74 [NCAA split #9]);
3. Houston 3:00.07 (#9 school, NCAA school);
(Amere Lattin 45.7, Kahmari Montgomery 44.7, Jermaine Holt 45.26, Obi Igbokwe 44.40);
4. Iowa 3:00.14 (#10 school, NCAA school)
(Wayne Lawrence 45.5, Antonio Woodard 45.7, Karayme Bartley’ 44.22, Mar’yea Harris 44.75);
5. North Carolina A&T 3:01.50
(Akeem Lindo 46.4, Akeem Sirleaf’ 44.8, Trevor Stewart 44.13, Kemarni Mighty 45.22);
6. Baylor 3:03.32
(Matthew Moorer 46.4, Chris Platt 45.3, Caleb Dickson 47.21, Wil London 44.43);
7. Arkansas 3:03.40
(John Winn 47.0, Hunter Woodhall 45.0, Jalen Brown 45.35, Rhayko Schwartz 46.08);
8. South Carolina 3:03.97
(Arinze Chance’ 46.3, Ty Jaye Robbins 45.9, Quincy Hall 44.80, Otis Jones 46.97).
(best-ever mark-for-NCAA place: 2–5, 8)
I–1. Texas A&M 3:01.26 (Johnson 45.87, Dixon 44.40); 2. Iowa 3:01.99 (Bartley 45.38, Harris 44.40); 3. North Carolina A&T 3:02.45 (Stewart 44.04, Mighty 45.84); 4. North Carolina 3:05.11 (Palmer, Cogdell, Johnson 47.30, Saint-Germain 45.47); 5. Ohio State 3:06.59 (Cooper, Johnson, James 46.92, Jeff 46.08); 6. Cal State Fullerton 3:06.65 (Samaniego, House, Shiley 46.92, Espinoza 45.48); 7. Michigan 3:07.09 (Melson, Davis, Schwedt 47.08, Hartman 46.43); 8. Kentucky 3:10.31 (St. Hillaire’, Smith, Bann’ 47.08, Walker 49.51).
II–1. Baylor 3:02.54 (Moorer, Fields, Platt 45.49, London 44.15); 2. South Carolina 3:02.68 (Hall 44.72, Jones 45.86); 3. Arkansas 3:04.65 (Winn, Woodhall, Brown 46.07, Schwartz 46.44); 4. UT Arlington 3:07.35 (Mitchell, Seastrunk, Wallace 46.51, Martinsson’ 47.48); 5. Navy 3:09.97 (Hughey, Petsch, Hurd 47.50, Finnegan 47.91); 6. UCLA 3:10.70 (Herrera, Powell, Marshall 48.26, Stone 45.86); 7. Coppin State 3:11.60 (Opuni, John’, Addison 48.57, Manu’ 48.73);… dq—Western Kentucky [3:02.04] (Kelly, Gates, Alexandre 45.51, Owusu-Antwi’ 45.37).
III–1. Houston 3:03.78 (Lattin, Holt, Lewis 46.51, Igbokwe 45.52); 2. Florida 3:03.98 (Lobo Vedel’, Holloway, Villaman 46.14, Sawyers 46.24); 3. TCU 3:05.01 (Andrews, Matiyenga’, Bender 46.84, Mokaleng’ 45.13); 4. Iowa State 3:06.94 (Johnson, Fogltanz, Roomes 45.36, Kelly 47.42); 5. Arizona 3:07.13 (Williams, Smith, Sincukovs’ 47.70, Washington 46.00); 6. Purdue 3:07.65 (McLaren’, Faust, Colebrooke’ 46.19, Dotson 47.32); 7. BYU 3:08.02 (Schaap, Bluth, Ellis 47.26, Yardley 46.96);… dq—George Mason [3:06.48] (Benson, Pierre, Agyei 47.93, Gomez 44.97). ◻︎