Men's Track and Field preview: NCAA Indoor Championships
AUSTIN, Texas -- The top-ranked University of Texas men's track and field squad will aim for its first NCAA team title this weekend when it takes part in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the University of Arkansas' Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. The event begins on Friday, March 10 at 9 a.m. CST with the heptathlon and continues through Saturday evening, March 11.
Texas earned 11 NCAA bids after completing a productive indoor season at the Big 12 Championships last month. The Longhorns captured their second Big 12 indoor title on Saturday, Feb. 25 on the strength of four event titles and a slew of top-five finishes.
Senior Trey Hardee ( Birmingham, Ala.) enters the heptathlon as the nation's top seed after breaking teammate Donovan Kilmartin's (Eagle, Idaho) NCAA record in January at the New Mexico Multi-Events Meet. Kilmartin earned the No. 2 seed after breaking his own meet and facility records last month at the Big 12 Championships in the University of Nebraska's Devaney Sports Center.
The 2004 NCAA heptathlon champion, Kilmartin took second in the event at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships, while Hardee placed third. Hardee and Kilmartin went on to place first and second in the heptathlon at the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Junior Andra Manson ( Brenham, Texas) holds the nation's top seed in the high jump with a clearance of 7-5.75. Manson placed third at the 2005 NCAA Indoors after winning the NCAA indoor and outdoor events as a freshman in 2005. He captured his fourth Big 12 high jump crown last month with a top clearance of 7-5.25.
Sophomore Leonel Manzano ( Marble Falls, Texas) enters the 2006 NCAA Indoors as the third seed in the mile. The 2005 NCAA 1,500-meter outdoor champion, Manzano rewrote his own UT mile record last month at The Husky Classic in Seattle before winning the Big 12 title two weeks later in 4:02.66. Manzano placed 10 th in the mile at the 2005 NCAA Indoors.
Texas qualified three student-athletes for the 60 meters, including two newcomers. Senior Quincy Boles ( Harker Heights, Texas) collected his second consecutive NCAA indoor bid with a personal-best time of 6.68 recorded at last month's New Balance Collegiate Invitational in New York City.
Freshman Jamaal Charles ( Port Arthur, Texas) and senior Trey Griffin ( Lockhart, Texas) will make their NCAA debuts in the 60 meters. Charles clocked a 6.68 in his first collegiate meet in January to garner a NCAA bid, while Griffin timed 6.64 at the Tyson Invitational, nearly earning a NCAA automatic bid.
Senior Brian Robison ( Splendora, Texas) will make his NCAA indoor debut in the shot put after registering a NCAA automatic mark of 63-8.25 for second place and a personal best at the Big 12 Championships. He enters the event as the No. 6 seed.
Senior Ronald Hill (Walnut, Calif.) also will make his first appearance at the NCAA indoor championships after registering a NCAA provisional mark in the long jump. Hill won the New Balance Collegiate Invitational with a personal-best distance of 25-3.50. The aforementioned Hardee also will take part in the long jump as the eighth seed after jumping 25-4.50 at the New Mexico Multi-Events Meet.
Texas' distance-medley relay claimed the last available DMR bid with a NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 9:37.13 at last weekend's Alex Wilson Invitational. Junior Darren Brown (Spring, Texas), senior Tomas Finol (Spring, Texas) and sophomores Kyle Miller ( Katy, Texas) and Jake Morse ( Arlington, Texas) collected the bid for the Longhorns.
Texas placed 10 th at the 2005 NCAA Indoors with 20 points. UT registered its top NCAA indoor showing in 2004, when the Longhorns placed fourth with 31 points.