Badgers claim distance medley in school-record time

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Four outstanding carries carried the Badgers to a Drake Relays title in the distance medley relay Saturday, with UW clocking a school-record time in the process.

The foursome of senior Ryan Gasper, senior James Groce, junior Zach Beth and senior Craig Miller ran a time of 9:32.84 to claim the win in the Jim Wheelock Distance Medley Relay, with their mark ranking as the second-fastest DMR time in the nation this year.

The victory gave Wisconsin its first Drake title in the event since 1949. Miller and Beth both were part of the Badgers' win in the 4x800-meter relay at last year's Drake Relays.

After getting backed up into the pack more than he'd planned on the opening 1,200-meter leg, Gasper closed well to clock a split of 2:57 that ensured he would hand off to Groce ahead of the traffic jam that trailed.

Groce -- competing in his fourth relay of the weekend -- took the stick cleanly for the 400-meter leg and went on to lay down a blazing split of 45.8 seconds that put the Badgers out front.

Beth did his part to keep them there with his 800-meter leg, as he lapped the blue oval twice in the low-1:49 range to set up Miller's anchor leg.

The two made the final exchange in a dead heat with Baylor, but Miller pulled ahead and led nearly throughout his 1,600-meter carry.

He slipped to second only briefly when Iowa State's Brandon Rooney slipped around the outside as the two took the final curve with 200 meters to go.

The lead was short-lived for Rooney, however, as Miller stormed back to the front with a finishing kick that capped off a split in the 4:00-flat range to take the win.

It was Miller's second anchor carry of 4:01 or better in as many days, as he also brought home the Badgers' third-place finish in the 4x1600-meter relay Friday.

The Badgers' remaining slate on the track is senior Nate Larkin in the finals of the men's 110-meter hurdles at 3:13 p.m. and Rob Finnerty in the men's 1,500 meters at 5:18 p.m.
ON WISCONSIN