Men's Track and Field preview: NCAA Midwest Regional Championships
NO. 13 TEXAS HEADS TO NCAA MIDWEST REGIONAL: The 13th-ranked Texas men's track and field team will head to the 2008 NCAA Midwest Regional from Friday, May 30 to Saturday, May 31. The two-day meet, which is being hosted by Nebraska at Ed Weir Stadium, will feature athletes from 42 schools representing 11 states. Action will kick off at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 30 with the men's high jump.
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 Longhorns have posted 72 regional marks during the outdoor season ... Texas athletes hold two of the top 10 times nationally in the 800 meters behind juniors Jacob Hernandez (Fifth/1:47.36) and Tevan Everett (Seventh/1:47.82) ... the Horns also have three of the top 20 marks nationally in the 1,500 meters led by senior Leonel Manzano, who has the nation's fastest time at 3:36.24 ... senior Hamza Deyaf's time of 50.66 in the 400-meter hurdles is tied for 17th on the national list ... junior Raymond Harris' mark of 2.18 meters in the high jump is ninth best in the country ... freshman Maston Wallace's clearance of 5.50 meters in the pole vault is the fourth-best mark in the country ... senior decathlete Donovan Kilmartin has already qualified for the national meet in the decathlon after winning the Big 12 Championship with 7,675 points, which ranks ninth nationally.
MIDWEST REGION PREVIEW: Texas has 18 athletes and two relays that have notched 72 qualifiers during the outdoor season. The Horns have 16 competitors who have notched multiple qualifiers led by senior Hamza Deyaf, who has posted regional marks in all eight of his races. There are six Longhorns who are ranked in the region's top five in their events including event leaders junior Jacob Hernandez (800 meters) and senior Leo Manzano (1,500 meters). The Horns have multiple qualifiers in five events including a high of four in the 1,500 meters.
REGIONAL EXPERIENCE: Texas has nine athletes who are making their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Midwest Regional. Six of those athletes went on to qualify for the NCAA Championships, whether by automatic qualifier or by at-large qualification. Seniors Darren Brown, Leo Manzano and Erik Stanley lead the way in the 1,500 meters, while fellow seniors Joseph Davis (triple jump) and Hamza Deyaf (400m hurdles) will be making return trips. In addition, junior Jacob Hernandez will look to automatically qualify after being an at-large qualifier last year.
2007 MIDWEST REGIONAL: Leo Manzano became just the second three-time NCAA Midwest Region Champion 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 in Des Moines, Iowa. Manzano was one of eight Longhorns to qualify for the NCAA Championships at the meet.
IN THE POLLS: Texas has been a mainstay in the USTFCCCA Rankings since the initial poll was released on March 27. The Horns started the season ranked 12th and will enter the NCAA Midwest Regional ranked 13th. In between, UT spent four weeks ranked in the top 10. Here is a look at their week-by-week rankings so far this season:
2008 BIG 12 INDOOR CHAMPIONS: By securing the 2008 Big 12 Indoor Championship, Texas rewrote league history by becoming just the second program to win three consecutive indoor conference championships. UT outscored host-school and second-place Nebraska by two points, 106-104, for its fourth overall league crown. UT won four individual titles and captured one relay championship. Senior Leo Manzano became the first Longhorn to win four consecutive titles in the mile run, and juniors Tevan Everett (600 yards) and Jacob Hernandez (800 meters) defended their event wins from 2007.
MANZANO'S MAGIC: Texas senior Leo Manzano will be looking for his fourth NCAA Midwest Regional title in the 1,500 meters. He captured crowns in 2005
Earlier this season, Manzano was named the Most Outstanding Performer at the Texas Relays and Penn Relays. At the Texas Relays, he demolished the school record with a world-leading time of 3:56.98, bettering Richard Romo's time of 3:58.80 from 1966. At the Penn Relays, Manzano anchored both the distance medley relay and the 4xMile relay to wins, while helping UT become just the fifth school in Penn Relays history to pull off the distance triple, which also includes the 4x800-meter relay.
SUB-FOUR: When Texas senior Darren Brown crossed the Texas Relays' finish line in 3:59.99, he joined his father, Barry Brown, as the only father-son combo to run sub-four minute miles in U.S. history. Brown's father was an All-American at Providence, where Darren started his career, and went on to set numerous Master's running records.
ELUSIVE OUTDOOR TITLE: Texas junior 800-meter runner Jacob Hernandez claimed his first career outdoor conference championship at the Big 12 meet by crossing the finish line in 1:47.58. After starting his career at TCU and finishing second at the Conference-USA Championships, Hernandez placed fourth at last year's Big 12 Championships before winning the event this season. The Magnolia, Texas native did have two indoor conference crowns to his name after winning the 800 meters in both 2007 and '08. He is now looking for his first NCAA Championship and currently stands fifth on the national list.
FRESH FACE: Texas freshman pole vaulter Maston Wallace has already made his presence felt at the collegiate level after a stellar prep career at Houston Clear Brook High School. After finishing second at the Big 12 Indoor Championships with a clearance of 5.20 meters (17-0 3/4), Wallace went on to place third at the NCAA indoor meet with a mark of 5.40 meters (17-8 1/2), making him the top finisher from the Big 12. He then went on to take the Big 12 outdoor title with a career-best clearance of 5.50 meters (18-0 1/2), which currently stands fourth on the national list and third in the midwest region.