Newport alum Caleb Cross gets first-team All-America honors

FAYETTEVILLE (UofA) - The No. 2 University of Arkansas men's track and field team collected 16 All-America honors Monday with the release of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-America list for the 2012 indoor season. The Razorbacks earned a nation-leading 14 first-team selections headlined by NCAA champions Andrew Irwin in the pole vault and the 4x400-meter relay team of Neil Braddy, Akheem Gauntlett, Marek Niit and Ben Skidmore.

With his victory at the national meet, Irwin became Arkansas' first-ever NCAA indoor pole vault champion. He set the school record for the third time with his winning clearance of 5.55m/18-2.5. The Razorbacks' 4x400-meter relay also made history by winning the program's first NCAA title in the event.

Three Razorbacks earned two All-America honors with Braddy, Gauntlett and Niit who were also recognized for their work in their respective event. In addition to relay duties, Gauntlett was a first-team selection at 200 meters while Niit (first team) and Braddy (second team) were named honorees for the 400 meters.

Arkansas' remaining first-team All-America performers are Caleb Cross (60-meter hurdles), Kevin Lazas (heptathlon), Anthony Lieghio (distance-medley relay), Leoman Momoh (distance-medley relay), Gunnar Nixon (heptathlon), Patrick Rono (distance-medley relay) and Travis Southard (distance-medley relay). Braddy was joined on the second-team list by Noah Kittelson (high jump).

Niit now has seven All-America honors during his Razorback career while Braddy and Skidmore each have six. Cross, Lazas and Southard have collected three All-America honors in their respective careers and Gauntlett earned his first two accolades. Monday's All-America release marks the first career recognition for Irwin, Kittelson, Lieghio, Momoh, Nixon and Rono.

Arkansas' men earned the most first-team honors with 14, followed by Indiana (11), Ohio State (10), and Florida and LSU (9). Among conferences, the Southeastern Conference led all leagues with 44 men's first-team All-America certificates, followed by the Big Ten (41), Big 12 (25) and Pac-12 (19).

First-team honors were given to those who placed in the championships' top eight or were a member of an eight-person final. Second-team honors were handed out to those who earned final classification between ninth and 16th place. Others who participated earned honorable mention.

A tape-delay broadcast of the NCAA Indoor Championships will air Sunday, March 18 at 6:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPNU. For more information about Arkansas track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit

2012 USTFCCCA All-Americans
First Team
Neil Braddy - 4x400m
Caleb Cross - 60m hurdles
Akheem Gauntlett - 200m, 4x400m
Andrew Irwin - pole vault
Kevin Lazas - heptathlon
Anthony Lieghio - DMR
Leoman Momoh - DMR
Marek Niit - 400m, 4x400m
Gunnar Nixon - heptathlon
Patrick Rono - DMR
Ben Skidmore - 4x400m
Travis Southard - DMR

Second Team
Neil Braddy - 400m
Noah Kittelson - high jump