Men's Track and Field ranked fifth in coaches poll
AUSTIN, Texas -- With the latest national poll, released on Tuesday, May 1, the Texas Longhorns are fifth in the nation according to the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA). The Trackwire 25 rankings have Texas at No. 10 in the nation, and projected to score 24 points based on the Dandy Dozen, which ranks the top 12 individuals in each NCAA sponsored event.
"It's nice to know that you are ranked," said men's track and field head coach Bubba Thornton, who was recently named the U.S. track and field head coach for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. "We appreciate that but we still know it comes down to head-to-head competition and not so much what the other people bring to the track. We're going to respect them for being there but it's head-to-head and we need to beat them."
UT has five UT student-athletes on the D12 list and 21 NCAA regional qualifiers overall entering the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship. The league meet takes place from Friday, May 11 through Sunday, May 13.
"Having 21 qualifiers going into the conference meet, we're excited about our chances," said Thornton. "We're still going to have to repeat the stellar regional performances that have helped us qualify. If we do that, we will be in the hunt to defend our title as we get into the last day of the conference championship meet. We still have got to get the consistency in those performances, so we'll be ready to go when nationals get here."
The highest-ranking Longhorn on the Dandy Dozen national list is one of the newest to the Forty Acres, although he is one of the oldest and more experienced on the team. Senior transfer and 2006 Harvard graduate Samyr Laine (Newburgh, N.Y.) is projected to win the triple jump, after earning All-American honors at NCAAs before.
Junior national champion Leo Manzano (Marble Falls) is also rated high on the D12 listing, as he sits second in the 1,500-meter run. Senior national champion Andra Manson (Brenham, Texas) is the fourth-rated high jumper in the country, while senior all-American Derek Randall (Beeville, Texas) slated to score one point (finish in eighth place) at nationals. Sophomore Andrew Webb (Midland, Texas), who has competed in the decathlon once this year, is projected to finish 12th in the event at nationals.
The Longhorns have 21 NCAA qualifiers including one NCAA provisional qualifier and the 4x100-meter relay. Four Longhorns have qualified in two events: Manson met the standard in the high jump and as anchor of the 4x100-meter relay; junior Joseph Davis (San Antonio, Texas) led the nation in the triple jump after the first month of the season and also ran a leg of the 400-meter relay; sophomore Elliot O'Hare (Austin, Texas) qualified in the 110-meter hurdles and triple jump; sophomore Trevor Gerland (Katy, Texas) ran the second leg of the 4x100-meter relay and is UT's leading 110-meter hurdler.
"There's always been an Andra Manson, there's always been a Leo Manzano, but all of a sudden you add Samyr (Laine) and Jamaal (Charles)," continued Thornton. "You also have guys like Jake Morse or Jacob Hernandez who are very, very good but their names haven't been out there. The team is very strong and we're just trying to work our way through final exams and the last week of school to get our composure for the Big 12 meet."