Men's Track and Field DMR leads nation, Hardee meets automatic mark in long jump at last chance meets
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Senior National Champion and All-American Trey Hardee automatically qualified in the long jump (25-9.25/7.85m) at the Arkansas Last Chance Meet in Fayetteville, and the men's distance medley relay -- seniors Darren Brown and Hamza Deyaf, and juniors Jacob Hernandez and Leo Manzano -- clocked the fastest time (9:31.27) in the nation in winning the event at the Notre Dame Last Chance Meet in Notre Dame.
Hardee (Birmingham, Ala.) added more to his already stellar contribution in the season-long journey to bring home an NCAA team national title. He equaled the automatic qualifying mark in the long jump landing in the pit at 25-9.25 (7.85m). In addition to winning the event, he secured a return trip to the Randal Tyson Track and Field Center in Fayetteville, Ark., for next week's NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship.
Hardee is one of four athletes this year in all of NCAA Division I track to qualify in the long jump. His mark stands at No. 4, behind Louisville's Tone Belt and Ohio's Scot Mayle, who are tied for the national lead at 7.95-meters, and Washington's Norris Frederick, who is two centimeters ahead of Hardee at 7.87-meters.
Hardee's distance gave him the third-farthest ever by a Longhorn long jumper. He recorded the farthest jump in over 10 years, and sits on the all-time list behind a mark from 1986 (Texas school record holder Eric Metcalf, 26-0) and another from 1996 (second-place Richard Duncan, 25-9.5). Hardee placed himself within inches of holding another UT indoor school record as he already owns the program's top heptathlon mark (6,208 points scored at the New Mexico Multi's Meet in 2006).
Hardee is competing in open events during his final season of eligibility.
"When you take a disappointing injury before Christmas, and then as he gets through that, sprains his ankle in the first week back in practice in January, I think the biggest and most important thing you recognize is his attempt to contribute in his final year even though it's not his specialty (the combined events)," praised head coach Bubba Thornton, who now has his third individual automatic NCAA qualifier. "He has not only qualified for nationals in the short hurdles and the long jump -- he is in good position at fourth in the long jump and sixth in the hurdles, nationally. The dedication he has to his teammates is awesome. Training is training, but with him, it's the commitment to helping the team."
The men's distance medley relay also put on a show -- clocking the nation's fastest time at the Notre Dame Last Chance/Alex Wilson Invitational.
Returning All-American from the 2006 DMR team Darren Brown (Spring, Texas) led off the first segment before exchanging with hurdler Hamza Deyaf (Plano, Texas). He handed off to 800-meter specialist junior Jacob Hernandez (Magnolia, Texas) who closed the gap for the nation's leading miler Leo Manzano (Marble Falls, Texas). The Longhorns were in eighth-place at that exchange, trailing leader Michigan State, and notable distance programs Wisconsin and host school Notre Dame, at the final exchange. One-by-one, Manzano passed each anchor to capture the win, school record and the automatic qualifying time.
"You have Leo Manzano, the top miler in the nation, in to anchor your relay, and with everyone starting to realize the ability of Jacob Hernandez, who will be a force in the 800, you have a pretty fast group," commented Thornton. "If you look at the fight that Hamza Deyaf has to keep the team in the race, and Brown was sick and didn't run well but still had to come through for us to be in the hunt. Again, it's a group of guys putting individual performances to win for the team. When you have a goal to do well for your teammates, then the performances are going to be exceptional."
The DMR time is the fastest in school history by over three seconds. It marks the sixth time that a top 10 UT DMR record has been set at the Alex Wilson Invitational. The record times are very familiar to Deyaf and Brown as both have run on a three combined Texas top 10 DMRs. Nine of the top 10 all-time fastest DMRs have been set since associate head coach Jason Vigilante joined the program in 2000.
Davis provisionally qualified with a second-place (farthest collegian in the meet) distance of 50-7.50 (15.43m). The career-best mark moves him into ninth place on UT's all-time list. Davis is the third person to add his name to the indoor triple jump record book in the last eight years.
O'Hare, who met the provisional standard with a fourth-place, All-Big 12 performance last weekend, jumped 47-7.75 (14.52m) for eighth-place.
All bids to the NCAA Championships will be announced early next week. UT has four automatic qualifiers and a number of provisional marks. For the final list, visit TexasSports.com on Tuesday, March 6.