When: Friday-Saturday, Feb. 29- March 1, 2008
Where: Lincoln, Neb. (Devaney Indoor Track Center)
AUSTIN, Texas -- The seventh-ranked Texas men's Track and Field team has its eyes on winning its third consecutive conference title this weekend. The Longhorns are set for the 2008 Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championship at Devaney Indoor Track Center from Friday-Saturday, Feb. 29-March 1 in Lincoln, Neb.
Horns enter as two-time defending champs
After earning team crowns at the 2006 and 2007 Big 12 Championships, Texas enters the league meet looking for its third consecutive title. Last year, the Longhorns became just the second indoor track and field team in Big 12 conference history to finish first in back-to-back seasons. Texas joins Nebraska in that category as the Huskers won consecutive titles from 1997-98, 2000-05, before tying in 2007.
Texas makes strong run at its fourth team championship this season
UT opened the season with a win at the Houston Indoor Opener on Saturday, Jan. 12. The Longhorns totaled 140.50 points to finish ahead of the field including second-place finisher Houston (123). The following weekend, Texas took home the team title at the Leonard Hilton Invitational (Jan. 19), scoring 108 points for its second win of the season. On Feb. 9, the Longhorns used a 23-point margin to win the 2008 New Balance Collegiate Invitational over a field of nationally-ranked programs. Texas finished first with 78 points ahead of No. 12 LSU (55), No. 21 Texas A&M (53), No. 7 Oklahoma (48), No. 10 Kentucky (41), top-ranked Tennessee (32) and No. 3 Arkansas (32).
Horns have strong history at Big 12 Championships
Since joining the conference, Texas has won three Big 12 Championships including one in 1999 and back-to-back titles in 2006-07. The Longhorns currently hold four league records including three set in 2007 -- the mile run in 2007 (Leo Manzano - 3:58.78), the distance-medley relay in 2007 (9:43.66), the high jump in 2000 and 2007 (Mark Boswell and Andra Manson - 7-6.5/2.30m) and the heptathlon in the 2006 (Donovan Kilmartin - 5,876 points).
2007 Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships recap
Last year, Texas won its third overall indoor championship, all under head coach Bubba Thornton, and shared the Big 12 title for the first time in program history. Over the two-day meet, UT tied or broke three championship records. Manzano (Marble Falls, Texas) broke the mile record and anchored the distance-medley relay that set a new standard in the conference. Then-senior Andra Manson (Brenham, Texas) tied the conference high jump championship record held by Texas ex Mark Boswell in winning his fourth consecutive event title. The team title came down to the 4x400-meter relay, the final event of the day. Texas entered the last race leading Nebraska by six points. The Huskers' 1,600-meter relay finished in third-place for six points as NU equaled the Longhorns two-day, championship total of 93 points. Then-senior Kilmartin (Eagle, Idaho) won his third Big 12 heptathlon championship, and neared the Big 12 record he set in 2006 with his 5,870-point championship performance. The DMR set a record with it's winning time of 9:43.66. Darren Brown (Spring, Texas) ran the first leg of the relay before exchanging with Hamza Deyaf (Richardson, Texas), who sprinted the next 400-meters. Jacob Hernandez (Magnolia, Texas) took the baton from Deyaf, and gave UT its first lead of the day during the 800 segment. Returning DMR champion anchor Manzano cruised the final stretch to give the quartet a victory for the second consecutive season. The following day, Manzano broke Big 12 and UT school records in winning the mile run in 3:58.78 for score his third consecutive conference indoor title. His time led the nation, at the time, and he became the first miler that year to automatically qualify for nationals. Hernandez etched his name in history as the first Longhorn to win the 800 at the Big 12 meet, running 1:50.26, and just the second overall 800-meter conference champion from Texas.
Multiple individual champions on Longhorns roster
Three Longhorns on the 2008 roster won individual titles at the Big 12 championship meet. Manzano, Hernandez and Hamza Deyaf return as individual Big 12 champions. Manzano has captured the last three mile-run crowns (2005-07), Hernandez captured his first 800 title in 2007, and Deyaf won a championship as the third leg of the winning DMR in 2007.
UT ranked high on Big 12 event list
Texas has 15 Longhorns and two relays ranked in the top eight in the Big 12... The world-record setting distance-medley relay group leads the league by nearly three seconds with a time of 9:25.97... Hernandez and All-American senior Jake Morse (Arlington, Texas) lead the conference in the 800 (1:47.89) and 3,000-meter run (1:50.58), respectively... Manzano, Morse and Kyle Miller (Katy, Texas) are the top three milers in the league. Manzano is first (3:59.21) ahead of Morse (4:00.41) and Miller (4:00.50)... Junior Elliot O'Hare (Austin, Texas) is eighth in the 60-meter hurdles (7.96) and 10th in the triple jump (49-7.75)... Junior transfer Tevan Everett (Bel-Aire, Kan.) is fourth in the 800 (1:50.58), just eighth-thousandths of a second shy of the provisional mark... Freshman Danzell Fortson (Fort Worth, Texas) is seventh in the open 400 with a time of 47.39... High jumpers Joel Hargett (Conroe, Texas) and Raymond Harris (Nacogdoches, Texas) are fifth (7-1.5/2.17m) and sixth (7-02.5/2.14m) in the event... Freshman Maston Wallace (Houston, Texas) has the third highest clearance (17-5.75/5.33m) in the pole vault while teammate Will Paine (Houston, Texas) is seventh with a personal-best 17-0 (5.18m)... Freshman Devon Bond (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) is seventh in the triple jump (50-4.75/15.36m)... Senior John Rouse (Kaufman, Texas) has the eighth-farthest mark (58-4.75/17.80m) in the league in the weight throw... Heptathletes Shawn Schmidt (Plano, Texas) and Kenny Greaves (Coppell, Texas) are fourth (5,256 points) and sixth (4,916 points), respectively... The 4x400-meter relay (3:11.01) has the fifth-fastest time of all 12 schools.
DMR Sets World Record
The Longhorns distance-medley relay set a world record of 9:25.97 at the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 16. Miller ran the 1,200-meters in 2:54.11 before exchanging with the second leg, Fortson, who rounded the track twice in 46.90 for the 400-meter segment. Hernandez was timed at 1:47 in the 800-meter portion of the race while Manzano ran the final 1,600-meters in 3:57.96. The group smashed the world, NCAA and Randal Tyson Track Center records of 9:27.77 run by Michigan on March 12, 2004. The Longhorns' group improved the American record of 9:28.83 set by Stanford on March 10, 2000 by nearly two seconds. Texas also bettered the previous school record of 9:31.27 set on March 2, 2007. Hernandez and Manzano ran the final two legs of the previous school best last year. The Big 12 recognized the entire quartet as Athletes of the Week on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
Horns place nine on NCAA descending order list
Texas has three automatic qualifiers and six provisional qualifiers for this year's NCAA championships. Manzano (mile) and Hernandez (800) have automatically qualified in the mile and the 800, respectively, and the DMR met the automatic standard in setting its world-best time. The DMR leads the NCAA while Hernandez and Manzano are fourth in their events.
Leo Manzano (mile)
Jacob Hernandez (800)
Distance-medley relay (Miller, Fortson, Hernandez, Manzano)
Jake Morse (mile, 3,000)
Kyle Miller (mile)
Joel Hargett (high jump)
Raymond Harris (high jump)
Maston Wallace (pole vault)
Trio milers meet NCAA standard
A trio of middle distance runners -- Manzano, Miller and Morse -- met the NCAA standard in the mile. Manzano, who is ranked fourth in the nation in the event, opened the season with a 3:59.21 performance at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational on Feb. 9. Miller and Morse neared the sub-4 minute mark at the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 15. Morse finished in 4:00.41 ahead of Miller's time of 4:00.50. Morse, who is also a provisional qualifier in the 3,000m, is 15th on the descending order national list in mile. Miller, who earned an automatic entry to nationals with the DMR, is 17th on the mile run list.
In the Texas record books
The DMR shattered a school-record with its 9:25.97 run at the Tyson Invitational... Fortson moved into seventh-place on the all-time 400-meter performers' list with a his 47.39 at the Tyson Invitational... O'Hare clocked a season-best 7.96 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles at the Houston Indoor Invitational to jump into the No. 7 spot on the career-list... Hargett became the Horns' 10th-highest jumper with his 7-1.5 (2.17m) clearance at the Tyson Invitational... Wallace became the second freshman to make the individual all-time listing this year. The first-year pole vaulter cleared 17-5.75 (5.33m) at the Tyson Invitational to move into seventh on the top-10 performers' list. Rouse tied for 10th with his weight throw mark (58-4.75/17.80m) from the Houston Indoor Opener.