Manzano wins third title, Men's Track and Field finishes fifth in Midwest Region
DES MOINES -- Junior Leo Manzano (Marble Falls, Texas) became just the second three-time NCAA Midwest Region Champion in region history and set a new meet record, leading the Texas men's track and field team to a fifth-place finish behind 47 points at the 2007 NCAA Midwest Region Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium.
"I thought it was a classic Leo Manzano performance," said Texas men's track and field head coach Bubba Thornton of Manzano's winning, meet-record breaking performance. "He understands what he needs to do and he takes care of business.
Manzano was one of four automatic qualifiers (top five region finish) on day two from UT. Senior high jumper Andra Manson (Brenham, Texas) and 3,000-meter steeplechaser Jake Morse (Arlington, Texas) finished third, and senior hurdler Hamza Deyaf (Richardson, Texas) and junior 1,500-meter runner Erik Stanley (Spring, Texas) placed fifth in their respective events.
"The rest of the guys took care of business (as we entered the meet wanting to qualify for nationals)," Thornton continued. "I was extremely proud of the guys that we brought up here. I'm still a little confused about Samyr (Laine's) performances but we're going to get that figured out if we get a chance. We'll be taking 13 or 14 guys to NC's. Watching our guys perform I know there not going to be tired at nationals.
Overall, Texas has five automatic qualifiers from the NCAA Midwest Region. The Longhorns can add to the national travel roster with at-large berths (top 12 region finish, high mark on national list) and provisional qualifiers in the decathlon and 10,000-meter run (events not contested at the region meet).
Manzano's time was one of the 10 fastest Longhorn performances. He has run five of the top 10 times in Texas history. His speediest effort and UT school record came at the 2005 NCAA Championship in Sacramento. He will get a chance to defend his title, and break that record in Sacramento from Wednesday to Saturday, June 6-9.
Manzano rounded the track in a region record time of 3:40.21, shattering the old mark of 3:42.82 by over two seconds set by Matt Gonzales of New Mexico. He adds more history to his performance as he is the first three-time NCAA Midwest Region Champion in region history. Texas Tech's Marlon Odom (110-meter hurdles) is the only other person to do so, and he accomplished that feat less than 40 minutes after Manzano's race ended.
"I was hoping sometime along the season to go under 3:40 so 3:40 on the dot was definitely a good time," said Manzano, immediately after the race. "Today was a little windy and I didn't know how it was going to feel as the wind kept coming off and on. I just wanted to go out there and have a good race. I know when you run against tough competitors, you always know it is going to be a good race."
Stanley added a second NCAA national qualifier in the 1,500-meter, crossing the line in 3:42.17. He shattered the lifetime best mark of 3:46.01 that he ran at the 2007 Texas Twilight on April 21. Fellow Spring, Texas native and senior Darren Brown finished just outside of the top five, posting a season-best 3:42.72.
Manson, a two-time national champion competing in one of the most competitive high jump regions in the nation, secured a trip to his final NCAA national championship meet by finishing third in the high jump with a clearance of 7-3.25 (2.22m). He scored six points towards the team score and enters the national meet tied for the second highest height in the nation.
"Andra went into this meet working on his timing," said Thornton. "His purpose was to get in the top five. He secured that and didn't have to take that many jumps. Now he knows what he needs to do. He's known since the first day of the season who he has to jump against at the national meet. This competition didn't make him any less unprepared. He's been getting ready for this since his first trip (during the indoor season); he knows what he needs to do."
Junior Jake Morse (Arlington, Texas) also placed third and securing a ticket to nationals, running a season-best 8:51.97 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Senior Ryan Wilson (Wichita, Kan.) placed scored two points and ran 9:01.18 for seventh place.
Adding to the list of national qualifiers was junior Hamza Deyaf (Richardson, Texas), who ran 50.99 seconds. He finished in fifth to earn the final spot coming out of the Midwest Region. He scored four points towards UT's team score.
Despite the potential cancellation of the some of the events with dangerous storms in the area, UT record three jumpers in the top 12. Junior Joseph Davis (San Antonio, Texas) had the seventh farthest jump of the meet, jumping 51-1.75 (15.59m). He missed the automatic berth by four inches but has a high enough mark to earn an at-large spot at nationals. Sophomore Elliot O'Hare (Austin, Texas) finished in ninth, hitting the sand in 50-8 (15.44m). Senior Samyr Laine (Newburgh, N.Y.), ranked No. 1 in the region, jumped 49-1 (14.96m) to place 12th.
The 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships takes place from Wednesday to Saturday, June 6-9 in Sacramento, Calif.
2007 NCAA Midwest Region
NCAA Midwest Region scorers
NCAA Midwest Region records (set by Texas)
400-meter hurdles (NCAA Reg.: 52.51)
High Jump (NCAA Reg.: 2.25m)
Triple Jump (NCAA Reg.: 15.00)