Men's Track and Field preview: Big 12 Championship
May 14, 2009
TEXAS HEADS TO BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Texas men's track and field team will head to the 2009 Big 12 Championships from Friday, May 15 to Sunday, May 17. The three-day meet, which is being hosted by Texas Tech at Linda and Terry Fuller Track, will feature the conference's best athletes. Action will kick off on Fri., May 15 with the first five events in the decathlon, the hammer throw and the 10,000 meters.
FOLLOW THE ACTION: For meet information and complete results on the 2009 Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships, visit either www.TexasSports.com or www.Big12Sports.com. In addition, Fox Sports Net will air the action from Lubbock on Friday, May 22 (11:30 a.m. Central). Bill Land (play-by-play), Carol Lewis (analyst) and Grant Boone (reporter) will have the call.
TEXAS TIDBITS: The Longhorns men's track and field team has captured 48 conference championships since 1915 (Four Big 12/44 SWC) ... UT's four Big 12 Championships are tied with Nebraska for the most of any team in the conference ... the Horns' last championship came in 2006, when they defeated Nebraska, 135-90.5 ... the Horns won their fourth consecutive indoor Big 12 title earlier this season and will be looking to pull off the indoor/outdoor double for the first time since they did it in 2006 ...the Longhorns have already posted 49 regional marks during the outdoor season ... Texas currently has two national leaders in senior Jake Morse (Steeple, 8:34.57) and junior Tevan Everett (800m, 1:47.39) ... Morse's time is almost five seconds faster than the nation's second-fastest time ... the Horns have two of the top three times nationally at 800 meters with Everett's and defending NCAA and Big 12 Champion Jacob Hernandez (third, 1:47.58) ... UT has four of the 10 fastest times in the Big 12 at 800 meters ... Indoor Big 12 Champion Raymond Harris currently ranks third in the conference with a clearance of 2.19m (7-2.25), which is the sixth-best mark nationally ...defending Big 12 and NCAA Champion Maston Wallace currently ranks second nationally and first in the Big 12 with a clearance of 5.55m (18-2.50).
TEXAS CONFERENCE HISTORY: The Texas men's track and field team has captured 48 outdoor conference titles (44 SWC/four Big 12) dating back to the first Southwest Conference Championships in 1915. The Horns have won a third of the Big 12 crowns since the league started in 1996-97 (1997, '99, 2003 and '06). UT's four Big 12 titles are tied with Nebraska for the most by any team in the conference. The Longhorns' most recent string of success came from 1992-99 when UT laid claim to seven of eight SWC crowns, including six in a row in 1992-97. Texas has won six consecutive conference crowns three additional times (1932-37; 1954-59; 1972-77). UT has finished outside of the top three at the conference meet just seven times in 93 years of league championships.
INDIVIDUAL CONFERENCE HISTORY: The UT men have captured 399 individual or relay conference crowns since the first Southwest Conference meet was held in 1915. Those titles range all the way from Ralph Frame's sweep of the 100- and 220-yard dashes in 1915 to Maston Wallace's victory in the pole vault last year. UT has won titles in a variety of events, but in the high jump and pole vault alone, the Longhorns boast 68 league crowns.
2008 BIG 12 INDOOR CHAMPIONS: By securing the 2009 Big 12 Championship, Texas rewrote league history by becoming just the second program to win four consecutive indoor conference championships. It marked the first time in school history that a team won four consecutive indoor conference crowns. UT outscored Nebraska, 115-102.5, for its fifth league crown overall. UT won four individual titles and captured one relay championship. Junior Tevan Everett (600 yards) and senior Jacob Hernandez (800 meters) each won their third consecutive titles, while senior Raymond Harris won his first conference crown in the high jump and freshman Patrick Todd took the 1,000 meters. The distance medley relay of Hernandez, Danzell Fortson, Everett and Jake Morse won UT's fourth consecutive conference crown in the event.
REGIONAL QUALIFIERS: Texas currently has 21 individuals and two relays qualified for the Midwest Regional meet. The group is led by senior Jake Morse and junior Tevan Everett, who each have the nation's fastest time in their respective events. Morse's 8:34.57 in the Steeplechase leads the nation by almost five seconds. Everett leads in the 800 with a 1:47.39, just ahead of defending Big 12 and NCAA Champion Jacob Hernandez, who has the nation's third-fastest time (1:47.58). If you include Tevas Everett's 1:48.58, Texas has three of the seven fastest times nationally at 800 meters. Sophomore Maston Wallace's mark of 5.55m (18-2.50) in the pole vault ranks second nationally, while senior Raymond Harris has the sixth-best mark nationally in the high jump with a 2.19m (7-2.25) clearance. Junior Brandon Drenon has qualified in two events, the shot put (18.14m/59-6.25) and discus (54.18m/177-9). Drenon's mark in the shot put ranks third in the Big 12 and his discus mark ranks fourth.
TWO-TIME NATIONAL CHAMPION: Senior Jacob Hernandez has proven to be the nation's top 800-meter runner over the last year by winning the two most recent national championships in that race. Hernandez claimed his first national title at last year's outdoor championships and followed that up with an indoor title in 2009. The outdoor championship came in one of 2008's most memorable races, when Hernandez held off Oregon's Andrew Wheating by .01 seconds, setting a school record of 1:45.31 in the process. Hernandez defeated Wheating again at the 2009 indoor meet, this time by a half-second (1:48.04-1:48.54). Currently, Hernandez has the nation's third-fastest time, 1:47.58, which he set in winning the Texas Twilight, his only open 800 event of the outdoor season. Hernandez, whose personal best of 1:45.31 is a school record, is looking to defend his Big 12 Championship from last season after finishing fourth as a sophomore.
WONDER TWINS: Juniors Tevan and Tevas Everett have been heavily involved in UT's success over the past few seasons. After transferring from Kansas State prior to the 2007-08 season, the twins have accounted for eight All-Big 12 honors and four All-America honors. The duo went 1-2 in the 600 yards at the Big 12 Indoor Championships earlier this year, and Tevan went on to claim his first individual All-America honor by finishing sixth in the 800 meters at the national meet. Tevan's 600-yard victory at the conference meet was his second-consecutive indoor conference title in that event at Texas and his third overall. The pair was also half of UT's All-America 4x400-meter relay last year. Tevas ran the opening leg and handed to Tevan for the second leg. Currently, Tevan has the nation's fastest time at 800 meters with a 1:47.39, while Tevas ranks ninth (1:48.58).
MORSE RETURNS: Senior Jake Morse redshirted during last year's outdoor campaign, but that doesn't mean he wasn't running. Morse used the time to focus on his training for the 3,000-meter Steeplechase in hopes of earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. Morse started with an impressive showing at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York City, where he finished fifth with a personal-best time of 8:30.19. After competing in various meets the rest of the season, Morse was ready for the Olympic Trials. After qualifying seventh in the semifinals with a time of 8:34.08, Morse ran an 8:34.48 to finish fourth, missing out on an Olympic berth by just one place. Morse ran his first Steeplechase of the season at Stanford on May 2 and clocked an 8:34.57, which is the nation's fastest time by almost five seconds.
HARRIS' TRIBUTE: Throughout Raymond Harris' career, he's had one thing driving him to succeed, his mother, Brenda. Brenda was there when Harris took up high jumping as a junior in high school and she, along with Harris' high school coach, helped get him going in the sport. It went so well that Harris earned a scholarship in track and field to Texas, turning down offers to play football at LSU and basketball at Baylor. But, Harris had a tough transition to collegiate competition and he was struggling to find his niche. Then, in the winter of his sophomore season, Harris found out that his mother's appendix had burst without her knowing and gangrene had set in, leaving to question whether or not she'd survive. Fortunately, she did and Harris has used her inspiration ever since. Since that time, he's been more focused on high jumping and the result, two All-America honors, one at last year's outdoor meet and one indoors earlier this season, and a Big 12 Indoor Championship.
POINT PRODUCER: Senior Elliot O'Hare has scored in six of his seven Big 12 competitions with the lone exception coming during the indoor season of his freshman year. He also has scored in three different events, the hurdles, triple jump and 4x100-meter relay. After scoring in four consecutive meets in the triple jump at the beginning of his career, O'Hare shifted his focus to the hurdles, where he's scored in the past three conference meets.
DRENON'S DOUBLE: When junior Brandon Drenon was looking for a college, he wanted a good business school that would give him the chance to experience a new environment, one that was different from his home in Pearland, Texas, right outside of Houston. His choice was Notre Dame. After spending two years there, Drenon's academic focus shifted from business to filmmaking and his eyes turned to Texas and its prestigious Radio-Television-Film major. Now, not only is Drenon working to become a director, but his athletic prowess is starting to flourish. The 2008 Big East Champion in the discus, Drenon has already qualified for the regional meet in both the discus and shot put, having set personal bests in both events (Shot Put: 18.14m (59-6.25), Discus: 54.23m (177-11). Drenon's mark in the shot put ranks third in the Big 12 and his discus mark ranks fourth.
TODD'S TRANSITION: Primarily an 800 runner in high school, freshman Patrick Todd has been working at longer distances since he arrived at The University of Texas. First, Todd bumped up to the 1,000 meters for the indoor season. The move worked well as Todd won his first Big 12 Championship and came close to breaking teammate Kyle Miller's school record. Todd is again increasing the distance for the outdoor season, this time to 1,500 meters, and he's already gotten off to a good start. After winning his first ever 1,500 meters at the Texas Relays, Todd posted a regional qualifier of 3:47.25 at the Texas Twilight.