Men's Track and Field opens season with two NCAA provisional qualifiers at Houston Indoor
HOUSTON -- The No. 18 Texas men’s track and field team used two NCAA provisional qualifiers, four individual champions and two relay titles to start the 2008 season at the Houston Indoor Opener at Yeoman Field House on Saturday, Jan. 12.
The Longhorns won the team title scoring 140.50 points in 16 scored events. Host school Houston totaled 123 points for second ahead of third-place Prairie View A&M (102 points), fourth-place UT-San Antonio (93.50) and fifth-place Lamar (39).
Two Texas high jumpers met the NCAA provisional mark as senior Joel Hargett (Conroe, Texas) and junior Raymond Harris (Nacogdoches, Texas) cleared 7-0.25 (2.14m) in placing second and third.
Returning to his hometown of Houston for his first collegiate event, freshman Maston Wallace put on a show for the crowd in winning the pole vault. He captured the event championship with a height of 16-6.5 (5.05m), besting the field that including NCAA combined event champions Trey Hardee and Donovan Kilmartin.
One of the most exciting races of the evening came in the first heat of the 4x400-meter relay. Leadoff leg and Texas freshman Logan Gonzales (Boone, Iowa) had the Longhorns in fourth place through the first two laps. Fellow rookie Andre Thomas (St. Peter’s Mo.) passed UTSA during the second leg to move into third place for the exchange. Junior transfer Tevan Everett (Bel-Aire, Kan.) made up the stagger to move within two feet of the lead pack. Junior U.S. Track and Field champion and Longhorns’ freshman Danzell Fortson (Dallas, Texas) used one lap to pull within striking distance of Houston’s anchor leg and then passed him in the final 50 meters to win the race for Texas in 3:19.10.
The distance-medley relay was victorious in the first men’s relay of the afternoon, running 10:28.84. Freshmen Brian Rhodes-Devey (Slingerlands, N.Y.) led off the distance-medley relay. Fortson grabbed the baton in second place and within one lap caught up to race leader UT-San Antonio. Fortson handed the baton off after the second lap to Gonzales who maintained the lead for anchor Jay Heller (Marietta, Ga.).
Senior John Rouse (Kaufman, Texas) opened the meet and the 2008 season with a win in the weight throw, tossing 58-4.75 (17.80m).
Redshirt freshmen Brandon Birdsong (Lubbock, Texas) and Habben Berhane (Dallas, Texas) led the 5,000-meter race from start to finish, clocking 15:11.91 and 15:19.97, respectively.
All-Americans Jake Morse (Arlington, Texas) and Erik Stanley (Spring, Texas) finished second and fourth, amidst a lap-miscount in the 3,000-meter. Morse stayed with race leader, Lamar's Francis Kasagule, and crossed the line in 8:25.93. Stanley ran 8:30.57.
Junior Elliot O’Hare (Austin, Texas) shattered his personal-best with a 7.96-effort in winning the 60-meter hurdles. O’Hare, who entered the season with a PB of 7.99, had the second fastest qualifying time (8.13) in the preliminary race.
O’Hare returned with senior Joseph Davis (San Antonio, Texas) to finish second and third in the triple jump. O’Hare hit the sand in 48-4.75 (14.75m) while Davis landed in 47-3 (14.40m). Sophomore Chuck Freeman (Arlington, Texas) added a sixth-place finish behind a jump of 44-11 (13.69m).
Earlier in the day, Thomas won his 400-meter heat and finished second overall in 50.18 seconds.
On individual performances: All of a sudden Elliot O’Hare grows up. In the high jump, they came through. They are exceptional performances for the first meet and if we can repeat those kind of performances -- Maston in the pole vault, Fortson in the distance-medley and 1,600-meter relay -- we will be in good shape. We’re going to go back and show the guys what they need to do. If we can get results out of that, we will have a really strong conference team.
JUNIOR ELLIOT O'HARE
JUNIOR RAYMOND HARRIS