Men's Track and Field preview: Big 12 Outdoor Championships
WACO, Texas -- No. 3 Texas aims for its first outdoor conference title since 2003 this weekend when it heads to Waco for the 2006 Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Baylor's Hart-Patterson Track Complex. The event gets under way Friday with the decathlon and continues late into the evening on Saturday and Sunday. Live results will be available throughout the weekend at .
Texas looks to build upon its third-place finish at the 2005 event at Kansas State. Sophomore Leonel Manzano (Marble Falls, Texas) returns as the defending champion in the 1,500 meters, and senior Brian Robison (Splendora, Texas) will attempt to defend his conference crown in the shot put.
Texas' all-around depth suggests a strong finish ahead for the Longhorns, as UT boasts many of the league's highest-ranked student-athletes. Freshman Jamaal Charles (Port Arthur, Texas) ranks first in the 100 meters at 10.18 and is tops in the 200 meters at 20.62. Senior Trey Hardee (Birmingham, Ala.), the collegiate record holder in the decathlon, ranks third in the 100 meters at 10.35 and fifth in the 200 meters at 20.98.
Senior Quincy Boles (Harker Heights, Texas) follows closely behind with the league's second-fastest time in the 200 meters at 20.79 and the fourth-fastest time in the 100 meters at 10.36. Seniors Trey Griffin (Lockhart, Texas) and Ronald Hill (Walnut, Calif.) hold the league's sixth and eighth-fastest marks, respectively, in the 100 meters. The quartet of Boles, Hardee, Charles and Griffin sits atop the league in the 4x100-meter relay with a top time of 39.30, the second-fastest time in the country.
Several Longhorns figure to contend for the 1,500-meter title. Manzano leads Texas with the Big 12's fourth-fastest time at 3:44.03, while sophomore Kyle Miller (Katy, Texas) ranks sixth at 3:45.12. Senior Ryan Ponsonby (Denton, Texas) earned All-Big 12 honors in the event a season ago.
Texas returns a pair of All-Big 12 performers in the 400-meter hurdles in sophomore Hamza Deyaf (Richardson, Texas) and junior Alan Bean (Dalhart, Texas). Bean took sixth in the event last season, while Deyaf placed eighth. Deyaf ranks fourth in the Big 12 at 51.18, while Bean currently ranks 14 th at 52.77.
UT will present a formidable contingent in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Sophomore Jake Morse (Arlington, Texas) ranks second in the Big 12 at 8:48.86, while senior Mark Floreani (Chicago, Ill.) ranks fourth at 8:52.81. Junior Ryan Wilson (Wichita, Kan.) sits in seventh at 8:54.77, and senior Jeff Cutrer (Nederland, Texas) ranks 10 th at 9:02.71.
Junior Andra Manson (Brenham, Texas), a former Big 12 high jump champion, will look to regain his title this weekend. He ranks second at 7-4.5, and sophomore Joel Hargett (Conroe, Texas) ranks fourth at 7-2.25. Texas likely will garner valuable points in the discus, as Robison holds the league's No. 2 mark at 195-6.5, while sophomore Derek Randall (Beeville, Texas) comes in at No. 4 at 188-1.5. UT figures to score in the long jump, as well. Hardee holds the league's No. 5 mark at 25-3.25, while Hill ranks eighth at 24-7.
Texas placed third at the 2005 Big 12 Championships with 100.5 points. Texas Tech claimed the title with 149.5 points, while Nebraska took second place with 136 points. Texas won the conference championships at the meet's last two stops at Baylor in 1997 and 1999.