Slow day at Texas Relays heats up with exciting race

Chris Medina


With a sparse crowd and mostly decathlon events early in the day, it wasn’t until the 4-by-800-meter men’s relay that things really started to heat up.
The relay showcased some of the South’s fastest middle-distance runners. Texas A&M and Arkansas headed into the final straightaway neck-and-neck, with Arkansas’ Leoman Momoh taking a slight edge. But then, through the most gruelling part of this half-mile race, A&M overtook Arkansas in the final 20 meters to win with a time of 7 minutes and 19.57 seconds while the Razorbacks were 0.23 seconds behind.
Thursday evening also brought a first for the Texas Relays ­— a men’s invitational 800-meter run. The night’s obvious star was Leo Manzano, a Texas alumnus who ran at UT from 2004 to 2008. Manzano is also an American Olympian, having represented the U.S. at the Beijing 2008 games in the 1,500-meter and mile. He was an 11-time All-American and five-time NCAA champion in Austin and has seen his career balloon in the past three years after making it to the finals of the World Championships in 2009 for the 1,500. The crowded six-man field also included Jacob Hernandez, Kyle Miller, senior Kenyan national team member Jackson Kivuva and current Texas freshman Mike Quercia.
The race began as a tight group, with each runner battling for position along the first straightaway. But as the race moved forward the runners began to separate and in the last 50 meters Texas alumnus Manzano edged out Kivuva to clock in at 1:47.89 — a new Texas Relays record for the 800.
“I’ve been training here in Austin,” Manzano said after the race. “Really, the biggest thing was we needed a really good race under our belt and needed to just polish up. We have really big races coming up and what better place than Austin, Texas and the University of Texas.”
Earlier in the day Michael Morrison of California won the decathlon in day two of the 10-event contest. Texas received a gallant effort from its three participants in the decathlon, including Isaac Murphy, who finished fourth with a total score of 7,681 points. 
Senior Kenny Greaves placed seventh, compiling a personal-best 7,454 points. Greaves also posted a personal best in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:19.19 and generated another person record in the pole vault, clearing 17 feet 0.25 inches. Overall, Greaves earned career bests in seven of the 10 decathlon events.
Murphy had impressive showing as well on Thursday, posting career bests in all five events, including a 4:40.68 time in the 1,500-meter.
Longhorn freshman Jake Wohlford, competing in his first decathlon, posted 6,850 points while finishing first in the 110-
meter hurdles.