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Women run fastest 4x400 since 1992

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The Badgers clocked the fastest 4x400-meter relay time by a UW quartet since 1992 on Saturday afternoon, with the foursome of Jameice DeCoster, Jenna Severson, Brittney Harper and Egle Staisiuniate clocking a time of 3:44.53 in the prelims at the Drake Relays.

The mark was good for 14th-fastest overall in the prelims, but it ranks as the sixth-fastest mark all-time at UW.

That means four of the 10 best marks in Badgers history have come in the past two years -- including three in the last 30 days.

The foursome of Harper, Severson, Staisiunaite and Amanda Donath went 3:45.11 at the Florida State Relays in March. Also, Harper, Donath, DeCoster and Staisiunaite clocked a 3:45.33 at the Florida Relays on April 3.

It was not fast enough to get the Badgers into the finals, however, with Ole Miss' 3:36.57 the top mark in the prelims session.

The Badgers' remaining event on the track is the men's 4x200-meter relay at 6:40 p.m.

Badgers take third in 4x1600 relay

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Despite a 4:01 anchor carry by senior Craig Miller, the Badgers settled for a third-place finish in the men's 4x1600-meter relay Friday afternoon.

Miller's anchor helped the Badgers clock in at 16:29.57, the sixth-fastest time in school history and the best mark by a Badgers team since 1982.

Still, it was only good enough for third as Ohio State's Jeff See won a drag race to the finish with Notre Dame's Jeremy Rae. The Buckeyes took the win in 16:25.42 with Notre Dame second in 16:25.57.

The Badgers led a good portion of the race after lead leg Ryan Gasper put them out front midway with his opening carry of 4:10. Gasper closed the final 800 meters in an impressive 1:56 before passing to redshirt freshman Rob Finnerty with the Badgers in the lead.

Finnerty kept them there, running a split of 4:06 for his 1,600 meters before handing the baton to freshman Drew Shields.

Shields and Notre Dame's Daniel Clark continued the two-team breakaway at the front, but the chase pack soon chewed into their 30-meter gap on the field. By the time Shields passed to Miller after a 4:10 split, the Badgers were in a battle for fourth.

Miller picked off a couple of spots and blazed to a 4:01 split, but Rae broke away for a sizeable lead that See only could erase with a dead sprint over the final 100 meters.

The Badgers have Monika Jakutyte and Kate Flood competing in the women's high jump and Rayme Mackinson taking part in the men's long jump. The remaining action on the track for UW is the prelims of the women's 4x400-meter relay at 3:30 p.m. and the men's 4x200-meter relay at 6:40 p.m.

Judging by the weather at 1:30 p.m. -- an overcast 60 degrees with 20 mph winds -- tonight's "Relays Under the Lights" session could be a chilly one for the Badgers' sprinters.

Larkin advances in 110 hurdles

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Senior Nate Larkin advanced out of the prelims of the men's 110-meter hurdles at the Drake Relays on Friday morning, running a time of 14.54 seconds.

Larkin, who was third in the event at last year's Drake Relays, won his preliminary heat going away and ended up fourth-fastest overall. He will race in the final at 3:13 p.m. Saturday.

Larkin also led off the Badgers' 4x100-meter relay entry Friday morning and will run the 4x110-meter shuttle hurdle relay on Saturday as the Badgers look to defend their title in that event.

Next up on the track for Wisconsin is the men's 4x1600-meter relay, with Craig Miller, Ryan Gasper, Drew Shields and Rob Finnerty running.

The duo of Monika Jakutyte and Kate Flood will compete in the women's high jump at 1 p.m. Teammate Megan Seidl, who is nursing some leg soreness, was a late scratch from that event and did not make the trip from Madison.

Drake Relays in pictures

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Photos from the Badgers' day at the 2010 Drake Relays will be updated throughout the day, so be sure to check the gallery below for additional photos.

Photo Gallery: Drake Relays Day 1

Drenched at Drake


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As you can see in the photo above -- of Kyle Jefferson anchoring UW's effort in the men's 4x100-meter relay -- the second day of the 101st Drake Relays is underway in Des Moines, Iowa, and it's off to a wet start.

It's been raining pretty much all morning, and the forecast doesn't look much brighter as the day goes on. Thunderstorms aren't out of the question, either.

Either way, the Badgers are off and running, as the women's 4x100-meter relay team of Jordan Helgren, Jameice DeCoster, Brittney Harper and Alexis Beecham ran their preliminary heat in 47.77. They did not advance to the event final.

On the men's side, the quartet of Nate Larkin, Gavin Robertson, James Groce and Jefferson ran a time of 41.42 that placed the Badgers 10th-fastest and just out of the final.

Next up for UW is Larkin running the prelims of the men's 110-meter hurdles, at 11:35 a.m.  The Badgers' entry in the 4x1600-meter relay -- Craig Miller, Ryan Gasper, Drew Shields and Rob Finnerty -- runs at 12:15 p.m.

Keep in mind that, because of the weather, the meet is on a rolling schedule and will stay ahead of schedule if possible.

I'll provide updates here on the blog throughout the day when I'm not out on the track taking photos ... and getting soaked.

Follow the Badgers live at Mt. SAC

Fans can follow the Wisconsin men's and women's track and field teams in action this weekend at the Mt. SAC Relays, thanks to live results and live video coverage from Flotrack.

- Live Webcast (begins 6 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday)
- Live Results

Also, be sure to check back to UWBadgers.com late Friday evening for coverage of the Badgers at the Mt. SAC Relays and the Bryan Clay Invitational.

Record relay run revisited

Telling the difference between the indoor and outdoor seasons in college track and field isn't all that hard.

Roof over my head? Must be indoors.

Breaking out the sunglasses? Guess it's outdoors.

Within those "macro-seasons," however, exist a number of "micro-seasons." They have no hard and fast start date, and there is no uniform ending, either.

Still, there are signs that help distinguish from these short sub-seasons. When you see events like "sprint medley relay" turn up in results, it's a good bet you're in the middle of one of the most exciting portions of the outdoor slate: relay season.

All-America honors for Akinniyi

Sophomore Dorcas Akinniyi ran a season-best time of 2:26.18 in the 800 meters to solidify an All-America finish in the women's pentathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

The run boosted Akinniyi's point total to a career-best 4,056 and earned her a seventh-place finish in her second NCAA competition.

Akinniyi becomes the second Wisconsin athlete to surpass the 4,000-point threshold in the pentathlon and stands second all-time at UW behind school record-holder Melissa Talbot's score of 4,225 from 2007.

She also joins Talbot as the only Badgers to earn All-America honors in the event.

Oregon's Brianne Theisen won the national title with a score of 4,396.

Next up for the Badgers on the final day of the NCAA championships is senior Chavon Robinson in the women's triple jump at 6:30 p.m.

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Career-best jump boosts Akinniyi to 5th

A personal-best leap of 19 feet, 7 inches (5.97m) on her third and final attempt in the long jump moved Dorcas Akinniyi into fifth place in the pentathlon standings after four events.

The sophomore fouled on each of her first two attempts in the long jump before landing the career-best leap to improve her point total to 3,314 points.

Oregon's Brianne Theisen continues to lead the standings at 3,511 points.

Akinniyi also set a personal-best mark in the 60-meter hurdles at 8.86 seconds.

If Akinniyi can run a time of 2:30.67 or faster in the 800, she will top her current personal-best score of 3,998.

She will run the final event of the pentathlon, the 800 meters, at 4:15 p.m.

Akinniyi holds steady in 8th

Sophomore Dorcas Akinniyi held down her spot in eighth place in the overall pentathlon standings with a throw of 37-11 1/4 (11.56m) in the shot put.

After three events, Akinniyi owns a total of 2,474 points. Oregon sophomore Brianne Theisen holds the lead at 2,637 points.

Two events remain in the competition, with the field moving on to the long jump before taking to the track for the 800 meters. The long jump is set to begin at 3 p.m.

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ON WISCONSIN