Track and Field preview: NCAA Championships
IN THE POLLS: Texas has been a mainstay in the Trackwire 25 since the initial poll was released on April 5. Here is a look at their week-by-week rankings so far this season:
Men's Rankings Week Rank (Pts.) 4/5 7th (26) 4/12 9th (22) 4/19 12th (20) 4/26 12th (20) 5/3 12th (22) 5/10 13th (20) 5/18 17th (21) 6/3 T-14th (21)
TEXAS NCAA HISTORY: The Texas men have finished as the runner-up four times at the NCAA Championships, including three times since 1987, and in the top 10 a total of 22 times. Overall, the Longhorns have posted 47 top-25 national outdoor finishes. Under Thornton, UT has posted top 15 national outdoor finishes in six of the past nine years, including a runner-up finish in 1997. The Texas women Texas have won three outdoor national championships (1990, 1998-99). In the 22 NCAA Outdoor meets the Longhorns have competed in, they have tallied eight runner-up finishes and have finished outside of the top 10 on just three occasions. Under the direction of 13th-year head coach Beverly Kearney, UT has won two NCAA Outdoor Championships and posted 11 top-10 finishes.
2004 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS RECAP: The Texas men finished in a tie for 23rd place with 13 points. The Longhorns received 10 points from Andra Manson, who won the high jump national title with a clearance of 7-7.25. The 4x100m relay team of Quincy Boles, Brendan Christian, Ashton Collins and Jermaine Cooper earned two points with a seventh-place finish, while Christian took eighth in the 100 meters. The Texas women earned their 11th consecutive top-10 finish after taking fourth place with 42 points. Nichole Denby scored 10 points by winning the 100m hurdles. UT ended up with three third-place finishes behind Marshevet Hooker (100m), Ashlee Williams (200m) and Sanya Richards (400m). Williams also earned three points with a sixth-place finish in the 100m hurdles. Raasin McIntosh earned seven points with a fifth-place finish in the 400m hurdles and a seventh-place finish in the 100m hurdles.
2005 BIG 12 OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Texas men's track and field team scored 100.5 points to finish third at the 2005 Big 12 Outdoor Championships behind Texas Tech (149.5 points) and Nebraska (136 points). The Longhorns brought home three conference titles behind Leonel Manzano (1,500 meters), Brian Robison (Shot Put) and Zach Zeller (3,000m Steeplechase). They also recorded three runner-up finishes (Jeff Cutrer, 3,000m Steeplechase; Donovan Kilmartin, Decathlon; 4x100m Relay) and three third-place finishes (Joseph Davis, Triple Jump; Andra Manson, High Jump; Brian Robison, Discus). The Texas women's track and field team scored 117 points to finish second to Nebraska (126.66 points). Sophomore Marshevet Hooker set a conference record for points scored at a championship meet with 32.5. She won the 100 and 200 meters, the long jump and anchored the 4x100m relay to victory. In addition to her three individual wins, UT's Melaine Walker (400m Hurdles) and Michelle Carter (Shot Put) also earned conference crowns. The Texas women continued their dominance in the relays, winning the 4x100 and 4x400m relays and have now won 17 of 18 relay titles at Big 12 meets.
POSTSEASON HONORS: Two Longhorns have claimed postseason honors this season. Sophomore Marshevet Hooker earned the Mondo South Central District Women's T&F Athlete of the Year and the Big 12 Women's Outdoor Performer of the Year, while freshman Leonel Manzano was named Big 12 Men's Outdoor Freshman of the Year. Hooker set the record for points scored at a conference meet with 32.5. She won the 100 and 200 meters, the long jump and anchored the 4x100-meter relay to victory. Her time in the 100 was the nation's fastest, and she is also ranked second nationally in the long jump. With the honor, UT has now won the Big 12 women's outdoor performer award three consecutive years (Sanya Richards: 2003 and '04). After being named the Indoor Freshman of the Year for winning the mile, Manzano claimed the outdoor honor after winning the 1,500 meters. He became only the second Longhorn to sweep the mile and the 1,500 meters, as Sammy Unberhagen did it in 1995. Manzano is the second consecutive Longhorn to win the freshman award after Andra Manson did it last season.
WOMEN'S NCAA CHAMPIONS: The Texas women have captured 30 individual or relay titles at the NCAA Outdoor Championships with the first coming in 1984 when Terri Turner won the triple jump (44-2). Suziann Reid holds the UT record for most national outdoor titles with seven, while Carlette Guidry ranks second with four. The most titles UT has won at a single outdoor meet is five in 1998. UT has grabbed 18 NCAA Outdoor titles under head coach Bev Kearney:
Year Winner Event (Mark) 2004 N. Denby 100m Hurdles (12.62) 2003 K. Downer 4x400m Relay (3:26.76) M. Robinson R. McIntosh S. Richards 2003 S. Richards 400m (50.58) 2000 E. Aldrich High Jump (6-2.75) 1999 S. Reid 400m (51.08) 1999 K. McGruder 4x100m (42.90) N. Perry L. White L. Backus 1999 A. Patterson 4x400m (3:27.08) A. Haddad T. Jarrett S. Reid 1998 S. Reid 400m (51.22) 1998 E. Aldrich High Jump (6-4) 1998 A. Vaughn 100m Hurdles (12.82) 1998 K. McGruder 4x100m (42.76) A. Vaughn L. Backus N. Perry 1998 A. Patterson 4x400m (3:28.65) A. Haddad T. Brown S. Reid 1997 D. Riley 800m (2:02.89) 1997 D. Riley 4x400m (3:28.43) D. Howard T. Brown S. Reid 1996 S. Reid 400m (52.16) 1996 D. Riley 4x400m (3:27.50) S. Reid D. Howard T. Brown 1994 M. Frazer 200m (22.49w) 1994 E. Vanisi Shot Put (58-2.5)
MEN'S NCAA CHAMPIONS: The Texas men have captured 33 individual crowns at the NCAA Outdoor Championships with the first coming in 1925 when Jim Reese won the mile in 4:18.8. The most titles Texas has won at a single outdoor meet is three in 1986. Jerry Thompson (two-mile and 5,000m) and Patrik Boden (javelin) share the record for most national titles with three. UT has grabbed seven national outdoor titles under head coach Bubba Thornton:
Year Winner Event (Mark) 2004 Andra Manson High Jump (7-7.25) 2002 Brian Hunter Pole Vault (18-8.25) 2000 Mark Boswell High Jump (7-7) 1999 Mark Boswell High Jump (7-7.75) 1999 Jacob Davis Pole Vault (18-2.75) 1997 Ivan Wagner High Jump (7-6.5) 1996 Richard Duncan Long Jump (26-0.25)
THE LAST TIME: Below is a list of the last UT athlete(s) to score at the NCAA Championships in an event (or closet equivalent) in which an athlete(s) is competing this year:
MEN Event Year Name Finish 100m 2004 B. Christian 8th (10.30) Mile* 1977 P. Craig 7th (3:42.39) 10,000m 1995 K. Maase 2nd (29:08.52) 400m H 1996 D. Spears 5th (49.77) 4x100m 2004 Cooper 7th (39.88) Boles Christian Collins HJ 2004 A. Manson 1st (7-7.25) SP 1991 L. Wilson 6th (60-6.50) Dec. 1997 A. Fox 4th (7,669) *- Mile was the closest equivalent to the 1,500m
WOMEN Event Year Name Finish 100m 2004 M. Hooker 3rd (11.23) 200m 2004 A. Williams 3rd (22.62) 400m 2004 S. Richards 3rd (50.68) 100m H 2004 N. Denby 1st (12.62) 2004 A. Williams 6th (13.08) 2004 R. McIntosh 7th (13.18) 400m H 2004 R. McIntosh 4th (55.56) 2004 A. Aiken 8th (58.12) 4x100m 2003 Phelps 3rd (42.86) Richards Staten Williams 4x400m 2004 Kerr 6th (3:30.33) McIntosh Chapple Richards LJ 1997 N. Devonish 7th (20-5) 1997 K. McGruder 8th (20-3) SP 1994 E. Vanisi 1st (58-2.50)
DUAL THREAT: Juniors Brian Robison and Michael Huff have been extremely busy during the indoor and outdoor track seasons in 2005. Both athletes were instrumental in Texas' 38-37 victory over Michigan in the 2005 Rose Bowl. Robison is a defensive end during the fall, while Huff is one of the nation's top safeties. Robison won the Big 12 shot put title on the final throw of the competition with a personal-best 64-7.75, which ranks him sixth in the country. He ended up finishing third (61-2) at the NCAA Midwest Regional despite not taking any of his throws in the final round due to a slight back injury. Meanwhile, Huff ran the first leg of the 4x100-meter relay at the regional and conference meet and helped Texas earn a third place and second-place finish, respectively. UT now has the 12th-fastest qualifier (39.44) in the country. Huff did qualify in the open 100 meters, but decided to focus on the relay for the postseason.
GRADUATE SCHOOL: Senior Mark Nichol joined the Longhorns as a graduate student and has made his presence felt. Nichol earned the Big 12 Cross Country Newcomer of the Year award during the fall and then finished third in the 5,000 meters at the Big 12 indoor meet. At the outdoor conference championships, he finished fourth in the 10,000 meters and came back two days later to finish 10th in the 5,000 meters. Despite being ranked fourth in the Midwest region in the 5,000 meters, Nichol is focused on the 10,000 meters. He is ranked 15th in country with a time of 28:54.70. Nichol took a year off from running while finishing his degree at Dartmouth. He is using his final year of eligibility at Texas while he pursues a master's in accounting.
DYNAMIC DUO: Junior Trey Hardee and sophomore Donovan Kilmartin are two of the top multi-event performers in the country. Both Longhorns posted automatic qualifiers to the national meet in the decathlon at the Texas Relays. Hardee's score of 7,839 points won the event and is the nation's top mark. Kilmartin finished second with 7,650 points, which is the sixth-best mark in the country. At the Big 12 Championships, Hardee led the decathlon after the first day with 4,012 points, just nine ahead of Kilmartin, but he was forced to withdraw after an injury in the 100-meter hurdles. Kilmartin went on to finish second at the event with 7,472 points. Now, both return to familiar territory. Hardee finished second in the decathlon at last year's NCAA Championships while at Mississippi State, while Kilmartin competed in the first four events before having to drop out due to an injury. Hardee will be looking for his first NCAA Championship, while Kilmartin will look to add the decathlon title to his 2004 heptathlon national championship, where he set the collegiate record of 6,136 points.
DEYAF'S DAY: Freshman Hamza Deyaf had the best meet of his young career at the NCAA Midwest Regional. He started the weekend by posting a personal best of 50.89, which was the second-fastest qualifying time. He went on to better the time with a 50.78. Deyaf started his track career in Cary, N.C. before moving to Plano, Texas prior to his senior season. The move didn't seem to hurt him at all as he earned all-state, all-region and all-conference honors as a junior at Cary High School and a senior at Plano East. The transition to college hasn't seemed to effect him either as he won three of his first four races during the 2005 outdoor season.
MARBLE FALLS MILER: Freshman Leonel Manzano became just the second Longhorn to run a sub-four-minute mile (3:59.86) indoors, en route to winning the Big 12 Indoor Championship. His time broke both the school and meet record, and he was named Big 12 Indoor Freshman Performer of the Year for his efforts. Manzano followed up that performance with a victory in the 1,500 meters at the outdoor conference meet to earn his second Freshman Performer of the Year honor. He became only the second Longhorn to win conference crowns in both the indoor mile and the outdoor 1,500 meters (Sammy Unberhagan, 1995). Also, during the outdoor season, Manzano became the first Texas athlete to win the Jerry Thompson Mile at the Texas Relays since Paul Craig did it in 1977. He went on to record the nation's 11th-fastest time in the 1,500 meters (3:42.84) on his way to winning the event at the Oregon Invitational. Then, he won the 1,500 meters at the NCAA Midwest Regional in 3:44.93 He also became a United States citizen on Dec. 16, 2004. Manzano is originally from Guanajuato, Mexico.
ONE FOR THE THUMB: Sophomore Andra Manson won his fifth championship while at Texas after winning the 2005 Big 12 Indoor Championship in the high jump with a leap of 7-5 (2.26m). Manson swept all four titles (Big 12 indoor and outdoor, NCAA indoor and outdoor) during his freshman campaign and became the first Texas athlete since Mark Boswell (2000) to win both the indoor and outdoor national championships in the high jump. At the 2005 Big 12 Outdoor Championships, Manson cleared the same height as the champion (7-3.75, 2.23m), but finished third in the standings due to failed attempts. He is currently tied for fifth on the national descending order list.
DO IT ALL: Sophomore Marshevet Hooker has done it all for the Longhorns during the 2005 season. She was UT's top scorer at the Big 12 Indoor Championships with 26 points thanks to a victory in the long jump and two second-place finishes in the 60 meters and the 200 meters. She one-upped herself at the outdoor conference championships by scoring 32.5 points, the most ever at either an indoor or outdoor meet. She scored 30 points thanks to victories in the 100 and 200 meters and the long jump. She added the other 2.5 for her role in the 4x100-meter relay's championship. Hooker went on to win the 100 meters and the long jump at the NCAA Midwest Regional. Hooker now holds the nation's fastest time in the 100 meters (11.12) and the second-best long jump (21-10, 6.65m). She is ranked first in the 100, second in the long jump and anchors the nation's top 4x100-meter relay according to Trackwire's most recent release.
IN THE GENES: Following a stellar indoor season that saw her win the Big 12 Championship and finish second at the national meet in the shot put, sophomore Michelle Carter has continued to perform well in the event. She became the first Longhorn since Eileen Vanisi in 1994 to sweep the indoor and outdoor conference shot put titles after winning the outdoor conference crown with a throw of 56-6.50. She went on to win the NCAA Midwest Regional with a throw of 57-9. Earlier this season, Carter broke Vanisi's 11-year old indoor school record in the shot put with a throw of 58-6.50. Now, Carter has Vanisi's outdoor record of 60-0.50 in her sights. So far this spring, Carter has posted qualifiers in the shot put at every meet. She is currently ranked third on the national list in the shot put (57-9). But, it is no wonder that she is such a success in the shot put considering her father Michael's accomplishments. He was the silver medalist in the shot put at the 1984 Olympic Games and still holds the national high school record in the event. He set the record in 1979 and since then, no one has come within five feet of his throw (81-3.50). Michelle also holds the national high school record in the shot put with a throw of 54-10.
JAMAICA, ESSEX, TEXAS: Junior Melaine Walker has blazed an interesting trail on her way to the Forty Acres. While in high school at St. Jago in Kingston, Jamaica, Walker set the junior national record in the 400m hurdles with a 55.62. She went on to win the high school girls 400m hurdles at the Penn Relays in both 2001 (57.85) and 2002 (58.88). She moved on to Essex County, where she became a five-time NJCAA national champion and 11-time NJCAA All-American. Now, at Texas, Walker has found her groove. She recorded seven personal bests during competition at the Big 12 Indoor Championships, while finishing second in the 60-meter hurdles, third in the 60 meters and fourth in the 200 meters. Walker continued her rise during the outdoor season, which culminated in a victory at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships in the 400-meter hurdles. Her 55.09 clocking is the second fastest in the country and bettered her previous time of 55.37.
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES: After spending her first two seasons at Texas as one of the top middle distance performers in the Big 12, junior Sheretta Jones has turned her attention to the 400-meter hurdles. The Houston, Texas native bettered her time in each of her first five races. In her first race at the Texas Invitational, Jones recorded a 1:00.55. She then broke the minute-mark in just the third hurdle race of her career with a 59.67 at the Texas Relays. She went on to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships after finishing sixth at the NCAA Midwest Regional in 59.18. On top of her new role in the hurdles, Jones runs the leadoff leg on the nation's second-fastest 4x400-meter relay team and is also a second-team Academic All-Big 12 performer.
RELAY UNIVERSITY: Since coming to Texas, head coach Bev Kearney has had great success with the relay events. Under her guidance, the Texas women have produced 12 relay titles. After victories in both the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, Texas has now won 17 of a possible 18 relay titles at Big 12 meets. The only time they didn't win was the 4x400m relay in 1998, when they went on to win the national championship both as a team and in both relays. The Longhorns clocked the nation's fastest time of 43.25 in the 4x100-meter relay and have primarily been using the combination of juniors LaTashia Kerr and Melaine Walker and sophomores Jerrika Chapple and Marshevet Hooker. UT has the second-fastet time in the 4x400-meter relay (3:29.03) thanks to juniors Sheretta Jones, Kerr, Walker and sophomore Jerrika Chapple.